What are the chances of the US and Israel taking part in any military strike against Iran? I am speaking of war, of flame, and of ashes. And of what, for Iran, avoiding war means. In another sense: is war avoidable?
What does the US say at this time. In a word, in two words, in a word or two, a certain number of activities will have to be avoided by Iran. Among them, enrichment of uranium.
For two decades, Iran hid its enrichment program. And, visibly, the suspicion was that Iran was trying to proceed from atom to bomb in obliqueness. More or less secretly, it goes without saying, and that is why we must tell the secret, not reveal it, even if it is the secret of a non-secret, a secret which is a secret for no one.
Let’s not beat about the bush: what is at issue is the concept of right, and of knowing whether or up to what point one can rely on it. Iran says it is simply exercising its right under an international treaty on nuclear weapons known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allow it to develop nuclear power, including the technology needed to fuel power stations.
No one would dispute the very strong “logic” of this response if Iran was trustworthy. And this is exactly the point at which the US violently denies the Iranian right to nuclear technology: "we don’t trust you, stop enrichment activities."
But this time, it is not higher level of enrichment nor lower level enrichment to be avoided, but war. All the strategies of avoiding war come down to talking to enemies, using force without using weapons: negotiation is a form of engagement—like war, but less dangerous and much cheaper.
Talk is always truly “cheap.” It empowers itself by having a force as cheap resource to avoid, to flee, to dodge war. But even when talking fails, which happens every day, still the golden rule applies: try, try again. For talking remains the absolute solitude of a passion without martyr, without humiliation and defeat to either sides.
The Geneva Talks, in which Under Secretary of State William Burns attended, was, indeed, the mark of a distinct shift in policy, and the last chance to avoid war, given that the Bush administration is against talking to enemies, although it has made an important exception with regard to the North Koreans.
Indeed, I should like to see more of negotiation as something of a smart dipolomacy towards a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis. For we liberals think that the realm of possibility expands as long as we keep talking, and thereby disclosing a new set of possible worlds.
But perhaps it is just too soon for a judgment to be rendered on whether war or peace will prevail. For both America and Iran are, to put it mildly, still going strong.
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