Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dear Mr. Obama,

By Mort Malkin

Dear Mr. Obama,

Last week Gadfly wrote to Mr. Ahmedinejad suggesting that Iran give up its nuclear program, both the early-stage civilian works at Natanz, Lashkar Ab’ad, and a half dozen other sites, as well as any dreams of someday possessing nuclear weapons. The reason for Iran to have nuclear weapons was already half removed -- Dick Cheney is no longer in the White House. As present President, you can disappear the second half of the reason by offering a non-aggression treaty to guarantee Iran’s security. That would take military action off thetable, and Hillary would have to give up any ambition of becoming a Great Satan in the Near East.

In exchange for such a pact, Iran would erect a grand stele dedicated to the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On it, his words would be carved in stone, “Nuclear weapons are the work of the Devil.”  The US would send engineers and construction crews to the Zagros Mountains in wester Iran to put up wind turbines and ski resorts. In appreciation Iran would send handmade Persian rugs to US embassies around the world to soften the rhetoric. The two countries could start a poetry exchange program -- Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, and the Hip Hop poets in trade for Jalal ud-din Rumi and the classical Persian poets.

Peace is possible between the two countries. Mr. Ahmedinejad is no pariah among neighboring nations. He has visited Afghanistan and Iraq in mutual amity. Iranians by the million make pilgrimages to Iraq’s Shia holy sites each year. Besides, the Iranians don’t much like Osama bin Laden our Public Enemy Number One. If any of the opposition party object to talks with the Persians, just remind them that Ronald Reagan was not above making deals with the Iranian clerics in Iran-Contra times.

Now is a good time to start the peace process. Iran’s recently announced nuclear enrichment site doesn’t yet have centrifuges
installed. Mohamed ElBaredei, the head of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), says that Iran has had trouble with the complex process of concentrating uranium even to 3% because of the impurities in the native ore. He also stated that all Iranian “nuclear material has been accounted for and not diverted to prohibited activity.” Iran has gotten nowhere near the 85% concentration necessary for making a bomb. In 2007, the official US National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran stopped all nuclear weapons activity years ago and that it would take five years to develop nuclear weapons from their rudimentary skills at the time. Israel, of course, says Iran could have a bomb in 45 minutes.

Now, also, the US neo-cons are out of power and can only snipe from the microphones at Fox News of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.  In the B-C administration they had suggested that a sustained bombing campaign would surely make the Iranian people discontent enough to rise up and overthrow the theocracy. A sober Pentagon official questioned their theory, “What were they smoking at the White House?”

Mr Obama, your administration of change can bring both common sense and pragmatism to the White House. We can replace any Iranian wishes for nuclear weapons with solid assurances of peace. Further, Iran is a
country of unstable geology and a history of earthquakes, a country of few places to bury radioactive waste. They must know that The US has plenty of radioactive waste sitting around at Savannah GA, Hanford WA, and Rocky Flats CO, and that we don’t know what to do with it. Iran might even give up its infant civilian nuclear program if electricity could be generated from the country’s plentiful wind and sun. What could convince the Iranians is a US example. Let us show them that we are sincere about denuclearization by immediately destroying half of our nuclear-tipped ICBMs. At whom are we aiming them, anyway? Denuclearization could become the next world-wide fad with Russia destroying half of their stockpile.

With the examples of  the US and Russia in hand, we could pressure Pakistan and India to sign the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and open their N-works to inspection by the IAEA. As Pakistan and India bowed to world opinion, North Korea would be next. Kim Jong Il, an aristocrat by taste if not by hairstyle, would be offered French Brandy, Russian Caviar, and parties with Hollywood starlets, evocatively half clad. All that and free gasoline for a couple of BMW SUVs would be a good trade for his half dozen N-bombs. We need not worry about China who already own half the world anyway and would get their way with yuan rather than missiles.

Then, we must address Israel. The fist thing is for the US to offer asylum to Mordechai Vanunu. Then a weekly shipment of New York bagels, Philadelphia cream cheese and smoked salmon (lox), sent air express to Tel Aviv. Then …

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