While it is the opposite of their intent, hawks in the US who suggest attacking Iran provide ammunition to Iran’s hardliners, including those who want to develop nuclear weapons. The most recent example to come to my attention is a radio interview in which Senator Tom Cotton argued that “if military action were required … it would [not involve boots on the ground, only] several days of air and naval bombing.”
Several weeks earlier, our former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton had a New York Times OpEd whose title well summarizes his argument: “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.
Perhaps the most egregious example is from October 2013, but came to my attention as a result of its coverage in today’s New York Times in a different context. In a roundtable discussion, billionaire GOP king-maker Sheldon Adelson gave his prescription for negotiating with Iran:
ADELSON: What I would say is: “Listen. You see that desert out there? I want to show you something.” … So there’s an atomic weapon goes over [on] a ballistic missile in the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes and scorpions or whatever.
And then you say, “See, the next one is in the middle of Tehran.”
Isn’t it time we stopped pulling the rug out from under Iran’s moderates?
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For an analysis of Senator Cotton’s radio interview, see this Washington Post article.