As the United States continues to use the carrot (sending a senior U.S. envoy) and the stick (if you don’t talk to us we’ll send our crazy Israeli attack dogs after you – as in this John Bolton piece in the Wall Street Journal and this Caroline Glick column in the Jerusalem Post) with Iran, I got to thinking about a piece we posted a few months ago on the Hartman Institute website by Prof. Moshe Halbertal.
Halbertal, who is a brilliant, clear, and provocative thinker, offered one of those “conventional wisdom is wrong” pieces that I love. He said an Iranian bomb – or the threat of one, even – may not be as bad as many think. Here’s an excerpt that should make Moshe’s point clear:
The Iranian bomb is indeed a destabilizing force in the region, though not quite in the usual sense of the term; driving a wedge into the Arab front, it places the vast majority of the Arab world squarely on the strategic side of the West.
Within this unlikely alliance lies the key to defeating radical Islam. Confronted by a common enemy, the West has a rare chance of forming a coalition with Arab national regimes; Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Jordan’s King Abdullah and even Syria’s Bashar Assad may seem like strange bedfellows, yet it is precisely these leaders of Arab nationalism with whom the West ought to partner if it is to prevent a nuclear war. Despite their growing circles of support, Muslim fundamentalists – characterized by the attempt to enforce Sharia law, the desire to replace Arab national regimes with Islamic caliphates, and the use of terrorism to attain their goals – are still very much a minority within the Arab world; their effective targeting hinges the West’s ability to isolate them from their surroundings.