Biden on Iran

Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden made two important statements.  First, he said that the US would not stand in the way if Israel decided to attack Iran in an effort to impede Iran’s nuclear program, which Western officials believe is aimed at developing atomic weapons.

Biden told an interviewer “We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination–if they make a determination–that they’re existentially threatened and their survival is threatened by another country.”

The US certainly try to dissuade Israel from taking military action against the Islamic Republic.  Taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities with a military strike would be very difficult, if not impossible, because they are scattered around the country and some of them are underground in unknown locations.  Moreover, the repercussions could be disastrous for Israel and the US in several ways.  Iran could attack American citizens and interests abroad and further destabilize Iraq.  Iran could also close down the Straits of Hormuz and disrupt the world’s oil supply, which would exacerbate the global economic recession.  Hamas and Hezbollah would likely initiate a much more aggressive terrorism campaign in Israel-Palestine.  And the Middle East peace process would be completely derailed.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointed out that an attack on Iran “Could be very destabilizing, and it is the consequences of that which aren’t predicatable.”

But Biden also reached out to Iran, saying “If the Iranians respond to the offer of engagement, we will engage.”

The Obama administration wisely decided to continue to try to reach a diplomatic solution with Iran even after the Iranian government’s crackdown on protesters who were upset about the results of the recent presidential election, which appears to have been rife with fraud.  A rapproachement with Iran would serve the interests of both countries, although it is uncertain if an acceptable peace agreement can be reached while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline president of Iran, is in power.

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