Doing nothing is no different than doing something; you’re just allowing someone else to pursue an end. What the United States is inevitably going to endure are the consequences of inaction. According to FoxNews.com, Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, declared, amidst some skepticism, that the Islamic ‘republic’ is now fully capable of independently producing it’s own nuclear fuel plates and rods. If this assertion is true, that means Iran is capable of enriching uranium independently, without international assistance, and could conceivably take the necessary steps to weaponize the material.
In a tragic twist of irony, Dr. Salehi earned his Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Continuing with his assertions, Dr. Salehi stated, “A grand transformation has taken place in the production of (nuclear) plates and rods. With the completion of the unit in Isfahan, we are one of the few countries which can produce fuel rods and fuel plates.” Rest assured, the Atomic Energy head iterated the regime’s stance that the nuclear program is strictly for “peaceful purposes”. In another portion of the article, “Salehi claims it was the West’s policies towards Iran that propelled its nuclear achievements.” These quotes beg two questions; what does Iran know about ‘peace’ and why would Salehi claim the West helped propel the country’s nuclear program?
As Americans know, or should know, peace is simply one of the many products of freedom. The requirements for attaining ‘real’ freedom are more intellectually demanding. It demands that force be prohibited from social relationships, that man be free to produce, and that governing bodies and institutions have well defined and limited powers. According to such criteria, ‘real’ freedom can only be attained when Capitalism is embraced as a social system that is morally superior.
While America is far from being a genuine example of a Capitalist system, it is still regarded as one of the ‘free’ or ‘quasi free’ countries of the world. In contrast, Iran hardly represents or embraces Capitalism in the social sense. The regime demonstrated how limitless it’s power was following the controversial presidential elections of 2009. The philosophical implications of Tehran’s paramilitary forces shooting and killing student protesters in broad daylight remains profound.
States that violate the most basic rights are states that know nothing of peace. While it is likely that Tehran’s reaction in 2009 was minuscule in scale compared to anything Hitler or Stalin had done, it exposes the idea that the state is supreme. When the state must dominate its own population to maintain its legitimacy and power; there is no guarantee of safety, there are no rights, there is no freedom. Under such an ideology, the state determines what the guidelines are for punishment, who gets punished, who lives, who dies.
After witnessing what crimes were committed, only a fool would think twice when Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for “peaceful purposes”. In the moral sense, Iran knows nothing about peace. Their interpretation of peace is maintaining obedience, not preserving and protecting their citizens and their respective rights. Regretfully, because some of the free world’s policy makers and elected officials are fools, Iran never hesitates to push the envelope.
As Dr. Salehi claimed before, “it was the West’s policies towards Iran that propelled its nuclear achievements.” Unfortunately, Dr. Salehi is correct. Despite years of U.N. sanctions, Iran has managed to build upon and continue to develop its nuclear program. In fact, during an interview last June on ABC, sitting CIA director, Leon Panetta, conceded that sanctions alone would not halt Tehran’s efforts. A few months after this interview was conducted, the State Department released it’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2009. Unsurprisingly, “Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Iran’s financial, material, and logistic support for terrorist and militant groups throughout the Middle East and Central Asia had a direct impact on international efforts to promote peace, threatened economic stability in the Gulf and undermined the growth of democracy.”
The report did not elaborate on the differences between a democracy and a republic.
Furthermore, the same assessment reinforced accusations that Iran continues to contribute to the bloodbath called Iraq. More enlightening, however, the report alludes to the probability that, “Since at least 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives.”
Despite the painfully obvious fact that Iran has been working tirelessly to undermine U.S. policy and endlessly spews the most virulent rhetoric, whether it be in Lebanon or the speaker’s podium at the United Nations, no substantive retributions are ever foisted on the regime. Why is this?
It’s both an intellectual and a moral failure. While the sheer devastation and destruction inflicted on September 11th demanded rethinking in American foreign policy, the sitting administration at the time missed the shot. The United States did pursue those responsible in Afghanistan and chased a sadistic, yet secular, dictator from his thrown in Iraq. Despite the ongoing costs and inefficiencies of both these campaigns, international terrorism looms over the free world as bureaucracies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration become household names. The reason for this ‘long war’ rests in the fact that this is a war fueled by culture, politics, and most importantly, a branch of mysticism referred to as Islam.
The Taliban did consciously allow al-Qaeda to plan and operate in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein did compensate Palestinian families of suicide bombers, but these two political entities only supplied means, not ideas. States like Iran and Saudi Arabia, in contrast, supply the ideological framework for this conflict to continue. While these two states, in particular, despise each other, they share the same ends. Saudi Arabia has quite generously supported institutions for Wahhabi thought while Iran unabashedly refers to itself as a Muslim theocracy. In the post September 11th period, how did the United States react to these blatant truths?
The American people were repeatedly assured that Saudi Arabia was a strong ally of the United States and the Iranian nuclear dilemma would be tackled by the glorious diplomats at the United Nations. President Bush spoke highly of Islam as a belief system and referred to the conflict at hand as the War on Terror instead of making a principled attempt to properly identify the enemy. President Obama even made the grandiose gesture of unclenching his fist towards Iran even though they continue to give America the finger. While the United States did something militarily to hinder the progress of Islamists overseas, it didn’t do the right things.
America has done far too little to quash the institutions that supply the material and ideas allowing militant Islamists to continue to kill and maim. The seemingly endless battle between the West and the Islamists, whether in the hills of Pakistan or the government buildings in Tehran, is the repercussion of inaction. It is because of such incompetence at all levels, moral and intellectual, that America must begin to fathom an inherently violent theocracy developing nuclear weapons. This is why Dr. Salehi claims the U.S. “propelled” Iran’s nuclear program; because doing nothing is the equivalent of doing something.