Letter to the Editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (printed June 9, 2006)
As tension builds around Iran's nuclear program, talk of war again comes to the forefront of our national conversation. At a time when U.S. prestige around the world is low -- and our ability to wage an effective war is seriously compromised by ongoing commitments -- it is crucial that a non-military solution be found.
A framework for cooperation already exists. There is clear consensus among our traditional NATO allies that Iran should be prevented from operating a weapons-capable nuclear program. The countries of Eastern and Central Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East all have a vital stake in keeping the region nuclear-free, but the State Department and White House appear slow in assembling these partners. It will be the combined weight of these emerging economies that will enhance eventual threats or impositions of sanctions.
The response so far from Tehran has been increasingly defiant and hostile rhetoric, which would lead one to conclude that efforts to date have fallen short of goals. Even the most pessimistic analysts estimate that the world has at least five years in which to deal with the issue before the Iranians possess some form of nuclear weapon. This will almost certainly be a problem handed over by President Bush to his successor, but policy must be set and partnership forged now to preserve our future security.
Lake Forest Park