Monday, April 24, 2006

A Deal for Iran?

I am, more or less, in agreement with libertarianism as a political viewpoint. The less part more often than not arises in regards to foreign policy and international relations. Libertarians tend towards some form of non-interventionism or isolationism. I tend to have a wider view of acceptable and appropriate foreign interventions on the part of the US military. This is why I was a bit surprised by my agreement with a recent Cato Institute commentary on Iran.

Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, and Justin Logan, a foreign policy analyst at Cato, penned a commentary calling for the US to offer a diplomatic deal to Iran. The deal essential is:
The United States should offer Iran full normalization of relations, including a public promise not to attack it, restored diplomatic relations, and normalized economic relations. In return, Iran would need to give up any prospect of building a nuclear arsenal. Iran would be required to immediately open its existing nuclear program to unfettered international inspections.

If Iran would accept such a deal and abide by it, this would be a phenomenal break through. It would peacefully resolve an extremely dangerous situation, and would show that the Iran is more reasonable than it appears.

There are problems, as noted by Carpenter and Logan, with the deal. It smacks of appeasement. Also, one has to wonder how well inspections can prevent the nuclear program from continuing. But in the end, if the deal was accepted and implemented, it would make it much more difficult for Iran to develop nuclear weapons. As for the appeasement, it certainly may lead other countries to pursue a nuclear weapons program to get such deals with the US--but is that such a bad thing? Regimes agreeing to forgo nuclear weapons for normal diplomatic and economic relations with the US seems like a good idea.

Unfortunately, I have no doubt that Iran would soundly and quickly reject such a deal--or would accept but then renege on it. Carpenter and Logan write "If they refused the deal, there would be only one conclusion to draw: Tehran is irreversibly determined to develop nuclear weapons." Since I believe this is the actual goal of Tehran, I would fully expect them to reject such a deal.

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