By Miles Bett, Columnist
While much of the country is focusing on the Republican primaries or the escalating violence in Syria there is another news story that is, to me, more important. It is Iran's attempts to develop a nuclear bomb. This is, of course, an incredibly alarming possibility and a truly terrifying situation if it comes to pass, and for more reasons than one. It is also an incredibly difficult situation to deal with.
Many in the west, as well as the Middle East, believe that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear warhead. Why you ask? Many reasons. My particular favorite is the power it brings. It would be foolish to send it speeding across borders into neighboring countries, Israel for example. That would simply incite a war. They are doing this to become much like North Korea. Let me explain.
Any nation in the possession of a nuclear warhead becomes, for all intents and purposes, untouchable. It is the supreme safeguard against military action. It is one reason North Korea has been left alone. It's an unstable nuclear power. There in lies the dilemma. If such technology fell into the hands of such an unstable government there is very little any outside force can do. Again, look at South Korea in relation to the North. The world at large would be very restrained in their ability to act in regards to Iran. So, you ask, what can be done to resolve such a situation? A lot, or nothing, depending upon how you choose to view the situation.
There is of course military action; unwise at best. Obama is still pulling troops out of the Middle East. There is no appetite to dive back into that region of the world, or any other region for that matter. The only nation that seems to be seriously thinking of military action is Israel and that obvious reasons.
What is left? Economic sanctions? Those works wonders; unless their government has the power to shut off a fifth of the world's oil supply.
The Strait of Hormuz sees about 1/5th of the world's oil pass through it. Were Tehran to close it, which it has threatened to do, much of the world would find itself in a very difficult situation. The only way to guarantee it remaining open would be either military action or leaving Iran alone, two options that are at once impossible yet unavoidable.
The UN, having just passed a new set of sanctions in an attempt to starve the programs, is nearing a point where they must come down on one side of the fence or the other. The real worry is that Iran will stop just shy or completing their program. That leaves the West and much of the rest of the world in position of not being able to act yet desperate to do so. In such a situation there would be no justification for military action yet were it to be tried it could prove disastrous, if Iran can finish the bomb in time.
The UN's economic sanctions won't go into effect for several more months but it is already clear that it may only delay the program, not stop it entirely. What can Obama and the other world leaders do about the situation? North Korea is fairly isolated where it is; Iran is not. Were such a nation to become a nuclear power others, such as Saudi Arabia, have promised to follow suit, adding more fuel so a region of the world that is literally and figuratively often on fire. Let us hope that this time around wiser heads prevail.