The 1994 US-DPRK Agreed Framework was negotiated when, like Iran, North Korea was on the verge of making it’s nuclear weapons program a reality. The Korean’s we’re seen unloading spent fuel rods at the Yongbyon reactor, a key step in developing weapons-grade plutonium. Then Secretary of Defense William Perry considered a preemptive strike on Yongbyon, but ultimately negotiated the Agreed Framework, also known as the “least worst agreement.”
Even Perry would admit that this deal, meant to freeze North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for some developmental funds and favors from the US-Japan-South Korean trilateral alliance, was naive. Later on, it would be discovered that North Korea had been enriching uranium all along.
This sort of appeasement fails because it never eliminates the root of the problem: The countries ability and want to develop a nuclear deterrent.
Looking towards Iran, the Obama administration admittedly made a tremendous diplomatic maneuver and, according to Trita Parsi, “Lost an Enemy” in the Islamic Republic. We shouldn’t pretend that the Iran deal wasn’t a feat to be admired.
Unless, of course, you live in Israel. The Iranian’s have written that they wish for Israel’s destruction on their ballistic missiles, and harbor extreme ill-will for other nations such as Saudi Arabia. Inevitably, if Israel we’re to take military action against Iran or vice-versa, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, would be deeply involved.
Iran hasn’t dismantled their uranium enrichment facilities, they’ve just filed them under the name of research and therefore delayed, but not completely eliminated their means of weaponization.
If we learned anything from the Agreed Framework, it’s that things fall apart. Agreements are made, but true intentions remained masked. Whose to say the Iran Deal won’t fall apart in three years, if not ten when the agreement expires?
At that point, Iran could very well be buying weapons of mass destruction from North Korea, and supplying them to Hezbollah, and maybe even Hamas.
The lesson from Korea is that if something poses a threat in ten years, it poses a threat now, and should be dealt with as such. As Machiavelli famously quipped “war is not to be avoided, but only to be put off to the advantage of others.” It may be that in ten years, when the situation comes a head, no sort of remedy will exist, and Israel will be forced to live with a nuclear Iran like the US is forced to live with a nuclear North Korea today.
Is that acceptable to the people, and future generations of Israel? I think not.
Therefore, Iran poses an imminent threat. If the Iran Deal can’t be seen as comprehensively dealing with the issue, as the Agreed Framework teaches us it does not, than what are Israel’s options?
They are twofold: Accept that one day Iran will become a nuclear power, or take military action today to assure that never happens.
Allowing Iran to become a nuclear power means that Israel trusts that Iran would never use their nuclear deterrent offensively. That’s a big trust, considering the suicidal tendencies of some ayatollah’s and members of other groups that could potentially get their hands on these weapons. Bashar Al-Assad has shown no hesitation in using sarin gas against his civilians, and the Golan Heights isn’t far away.
Or, Israel could destroy all of Iran’s nuclear facilities and ballistic missile launching sites tonight, with a clear warning from a joint NATO-Saudi-Israeli-US memorandum that any retaliation will be met with in the harshest terms.
The again, there’d be a lot more Jews today if the allies had thwarted Hitler in 1933, as opposed to allowing him to weaponize and become a true menace to world peace in 1939.
If Nazi Germany and North Korea offer any lessons for Iran, it’s that appeasament causes the worst possible outcome. Daniel S. Smith, a history student at Wayne State University, can be reached at [email protected]