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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Acataclysmic concern has been dominating both the minds of world leaders and
media airtime in recent months. Politicians and pundits have bombarded us with
assessments, statements and catchphrases.
But through all the rhetoric, a
key question is yet to be answered: Is the US truly committed to preventing Iran
from reaching nuclear weapon capabilities? The answer is unfortunately unclear,
for we hear contradictory tones from Washington. On some days, officials
defiantly state “no option is off the table” or call for sanctions, using words
like “tougher” and “crippling” to emphasize their intent. On other days, we hear
the Obama administration make reference to “containment,” an alarming word that
implies the US will not or cannot prevent Iran from its path to the
Through all this, one major element has been missing from President
Barack Obama’s personal rhetoric: a clear declaration that the US is determined
to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The lingering question is whether
the absence of such points is due to poor communication, or perhaps to a lack of
American vision in solving the Iranian time bomb.
AFTER THE UN approved
another round of sanctions against Iran last week, the Obama administration
cried victory. However, we once again heard no clear announcement that the US is
determined to keep Iran from going nuclear.
While sanctions are certainly
important, we have yet to see whether the latest round is an isolated victory
with no clear end goal, or whether it fits into a larger American strategy of
determination in stopping Iran.
If the latter is true, then why did Obama
not accompany the resolution with a strong statement declaring his intention to
prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capabilities? We are left to wonder whether
the recent US-led UN sanctions package is a hollow promise without real
expectations of achieving this goal. Could it simply have been a method to
better prepare for some future commission tasked with investigating why the US
and the rest of the world failed to stop Iran and why a strike back against
Teheran following an Iranian attack was legitimate? Iran is at a nuclear
crossroads and the world absolutely cannot adopt a policy of containment. With
apocalyptic leaders who have voiced clear deadly and vicious intentions against
the West, Iran must be stopped. An evil regime with violent intentions must
never gain access to such devastating weapons.
A radical anti-democratic
regime that builds itself up on a megalomaniac vision at the cost of other
nations arises once in a generation. Such was the case with the German Nazi
regime during the 1930s.
Undoubtedly, the leadership in place to confront
Nazi Europe in the 1930s and 1940s was quite unique. The fact that the United
States, the United Kingdom and the former Soviet Union came together to fight
the threat can be seen as a coincidence, or as divine intervention.
challenge facing Barack Obama and other leaders of free nations is reminiscent
of the challenge facing the world in the 1930s, a challenge with which then UK
prime minister Neville Chamberlain and others failed to handle.
We need a
leadership of the same caliber today, one that is smart and daring, to bring
back sanity to our world Hence, when leaders failed at this task in the past, we
found ourselves in the midst of bloody wars that lasted for years and changed
the face of history. These brought forth the development and use of new weapons
of mass destruction.
The opportunity, and challenge, has now been stowed
upon US President Barak Obama to be on guard, and during his “shift,” the “sane”
world will have to decide on the destiny of the destructive nuclear weapon that
a dangerous country that has the most lethal statements wants to acquire –
If Iran were to start producing a nuclear bomb, the result would not
end with environmental contamination and the death of hundreds of marine and
wildlife creatures and habitats, like the outcome, so far, of an unprecedented,
disastrous oil spill. It would end with the death of hundreds of thousands of
human beings, in addition to a disastrous radioactive contamination.
cement on the Iranian “oil well” must be in place before drilling and
that we all hope to hear the president say the inevitable statement:
not acquire nuclear weapons! The road from here is clear: The US can
Iran through preventive measures or it can wait until the regime has
At that point, the only protection against potential
mass catastrophe would be a policy of containment, a clearly
policy. The best defense is always a proactive one, not reactive, or as
famous Arabic proverb says, “Before he has you for dinner, have him for
Fortunately, we know that the goal is achievable. Iran can still
be stopped. It is not too late. It is time for Obama to step up and
strong leadership that is needed to stop Iran. The day has come for the
of the free world to finally state unequivocally that he is determined
to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.The writer is a Kadima MK and a former
head of the Shin Bet.