Kissinger and Shultz have a thoughtful op-ed in the WSJ on the Iran nuclear deal. However, they criticize it without offering an alternative. Could the deal be better? Of course, Iran could have renounced all nuclear ambitions and completely shut down its nuclear activities. But I doubt that even Kissinger and Shultz could have negotiated an agreement on those terms. So what is the alternative? Implicit in their op-ed is the conclusion that only a military attack taking out all of Iran’s nuclear facilities would prevent the proliferation of nuclear technology throughout the Middle East. But would “shock and awe” work better in Tehran than it did in Baghdad? It would probably bring on a wider war that would make the Iraq war look like a small skirmish.
Furthermore, they do not mention Pakistan (or India), the elephants in the room when it comes to the proliferation of nuclear technology in the region. India does not appear to be a problem under its present government and the present international situation, but Pakistan is a big problem. Pakistan has many nuclear weapons, most aimed at India, but available for other purposes, if the government so decides, or if terrorists get their hands on them, and Pakistan’s Waziristan region is full of Taliban terrorists. Even if Pakistan does not sell a nuclear weapon and if the terrorists don’t get their hands on one, it is a source of nuclear technology. It has probably already provided some assistance to Iran and North Korea.
Pakistan is a more clear and present danger to the world than Iran is, mainly because Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and Iran does not. In theory Pakistan is a friend of the US, but in fact it is a fickle friend, often providing sanctuary for Taliban terrorists from Afghanistan who have been fighting American troops. In addition, it is probably a closer friend of China than it is of the US, with whatever geopolitical consequences that may produce. China is much less concerned about world peace than it is about the welfare of the Chinese state.
So, Secretaries Kissinger and Shultz, why should we be more worried about Iran than Pakistan? Shouldn’t we be happy to turn down the heat with Iran, even a little bit, while new fires seem to be springing up daily in the rest of the Middle East?