Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A misadventure in the offing

As I write, a proposal to impose fresh sanction on Iran by the western powers is doing the rounds. Iran has already threatened to blockade the strait of Hormuz, which would effectively cut off oil supply from the Gulf (except Saudi Arabia). The current state of affairs is raising fresh fears of a military confrontation between the USA and Iran.

The entire disagreement centres on the nuclear programme, which Iran insists is for civilian purposes. The western powers, especially the USA have been continuously raising fears that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons in the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, although no credible evidence has emerged to support such claims hitherto.

To be honest, I fail to see what the entire fuss is about. As I recollect, Iran has not expressed  bellicose intentions against any of those countries anytime in the recent past, much less that of using nuclear weapons. Under the circumstances, it seems to me that the western powers are raising concerns about weapons which, given their recent track record, could prove just as potent as Saddam Hussain's WMDs.

If anything, the entire episode reeks of a neo-imperialistic attitude. Admittedly my views could be biased, coming as I do from a former colony. Nonetheless, it seems rather strange that countries, some of whom have developed nuclear weapons of their own, are now trying everything within their powers to develop another from doing so. To my knowledge, no objections were ever raised when those western nations were developing their own nuclear facilities. Given that background, its hard to understand why they should be raising the alarm, even if their fears prove to be true.

If one were to argue that there is a possibility of Iran not handling their nuclear weapons in a responsible manner, there arises the question, just who decides whether or not it is safe for a particular country to have them?  To me it sounds incredibly arrogant for a handful of countries to decide who should have nuclear weapons and who should not, especially when they are led by the only country to have ever used them in a war.

A Nuclear Explosion

Remarkably, another middle eastern state- Israel- is reported to have nuclear weapons of its own, although there is no official information on the subject. There is much less evidence of Iran having any such weapons till date and official sources have vehemently denied any intentions of using their nuclear programme for military purposes. Whereas Iran has not been involved in any major military confrontation in the recent past, Israel's track record in this regard is far from encouraging. Given that background, it seems a case of different measures for different people.

The USA has already burnt its fingers in Iraq and Afghanistan in the recent past. With an economy in the grips of the worst financial crisis in living memory and a burgeoning fiscal deficit, one only hopes that Uncle Sam has learnt its lesson. If not, the whole world will pay a heavy price.

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