Friday, August 20, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

For the past couple of years, Iran has been making moves to build nuclear reactors, citing their desire to move away from an oil-based energy policy. The Left has cheered this move, marking one of the first times in recent history that Leftists have actually cheered for nuclear power.

But, here's the funny thing. Iran is sitting on one of the largest oil reserves in the world. And I can't say that Iran's done much to tap into that reserve. Why would they go nuclear when they have oil? I have a few thoughts on the matter, and none of them are as blissfully ignorant as the Left's thoughts on the same matter.

1) Iran knows they have the US over a barrel. An oil barrel, to be precise. It's no secret that America has a jones for oil. One of our sources of foreign oil is the Middle East, and one of the primary tanker routes is the Strait of Hormuz. And guess where Iran sits. Right along the Strait of Hormuz. Combine that with the fact about Iran's oil reserves that I referenced above and you get a situation that could create an artificial spike in oil prices if Iran decides to cut us off. Going nuclear allows them to hold onto more oil which they can sell back to us as economy-busting prices.

2) They're gearing up for an attack on Israel. It's not secret that the current leadership in Iran wants Israel out of the picture in the Middle East. One of the great advantages Israel has over their Muslim counterparts in that neck of the world is their military. One way to counteract that military is through bigger, more dangerous weapons. Like...oh I don't know...a nuclear bomb. And given that Iran has a deal with Russia to get the kind of uranium used in nuclear weapons instead of the uranium used in nuclear reactors, I'm guessing Iran's going to play a much bigger role in the Middle East's conflict with Israel very soon.

3) Iran will be a battlefront in an impending geopolitical conflict akin to the Cold War. This is a radical notion, but one that has a basis in fact. The fall of the Soviet Union left great opportunity, but also a lot of hard feelings among the communists still there. Although we saw Russia moderate its relationship with the West early on, one would be hard-pressed to say that the relationship hasn't soured again. Blame Bush if you want, but it wouldn't have mattered who was President because they have been planting the seeds for this for decades. Now, consider China's growing influence on the global scene. The fact that China and Russia are on the same page is scary, especially considering both are actively supporting Iran's nuclear aims. Both countries have an ax to grind with America, and they're not above making us fight on ground that isn't theirs. If events continue to unfold like I think they will, once Iran goes nuclear, Russia and China will get more vigorous in their defense of Iran, which would embolden Iran to attack Iraq. That has the potential to draw us into a global war that we won't be able to afford and will most likely lose.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong on these (especially on that third one). But until we're willing to look at the facts and act accordingly, Iran's nuclear capabilities will continue to be the elephant in the room that we're trying to ignore.

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