How well does this graph (from The Economist) explain the West’s obsession with Iranian regime change?
We’re seeing a fairly clear division lately between those who think that Iran presents the most serious threat on the world stage and those who believe that Western militaries (especially Israel and the US) present the greatest threat to renewed mass violence in the Middle East. Yet, no matter one’s opinion, most people understand that if an overt war between Iran and the West does occur, it’s going to be a Western country who launches the first attack.
How many of the pro-war American and Israeli officials and media pundits really believe that Iran is suicidal enough to use a nuclear weapon against the most powerful military alliance in the history of the world (i.e., NATO + Israel)? Why is there no drum-beating for war with North Korea or Pakistan or China, also nuclear powers? I tend to think that many of these talking heads, despite their drum-beating, privately know that an Iranian nuclear attack is extremely unlikely ever to happen. Rather, they fear other, less serious geopolitical implications if Iran joins the nuclear weapons club.
The power shift in the Middle East that would occur with Iranian nuclear weapon capability, along with the protection it would provide the Iranian regime, is something Western officials certainly want to avoid. US-Saudi-Israeli domination of the Middle East and its energy resources would weaken substantially.
Unfortunately, US domination of the Middle East has shown contempt for the basic human rights of many of the people who live in the region. In contrast to the humanist rhetoric we hear about needed changes in places like Syria and Libya, Western powers have been passively supportive of the killing, torture, repression, and abuse that continue to take place in countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Sadly, Western lifestyles and corporate profits have grown dependent on these tyrannical regimes. [American citizens, showing welcome rationality, clearly prefer pursuing negotiations rather than a military strike on Iran.]
Zero evidence exists that Iran is either developing nukes or planning to attack Western citizens. Rational minds should conclude that the potential for the unprovoked, deliberate Iranian use of a nuclear weapon—if the regime should ever decide to develop one—is extremely unlikely.
This very scary and very remote hypothetical does however provide a convenient pretext for those who want to start another war in the oil-rich Middle East, just as it has in the past.