There is no single worse option dilemma, facing mankind, than the nuclear proliferation by unstable states. Actually, if the states were merely unstable that would be worrying but not terrifying. It gets worse. It misstates the problem. Iran for one is not an unstable state. Neither is North Korea. Both nations are firmly in the control of repressive and brutally efficient regimes. They are stable in that there is little apparent credible threat to the established control by internal groups. The number one nuclear weapon empowered state that is potentially most unstable is Pakistan. It gets a “two for”. It is politically shaky and has a huge faction of Islamist radicals that are irrational by Western standards.
North Korea, by itself, would be far less worrisome if it was not so desperately poor. North Korea will sell nuclear weapons and technology to the highest bidder. Last week the New York Times reported that Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the UAE have all announced their intention to build civilian nuclear reactors. Last Tuesday, in an official visit to China, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reportedly signed an agreement with Chinese leader Hu Jintao for China to build nuclear reactors in Egypt.
There is no consensus within the World Community on how to deal with this problem. It is conceivable that the US could deal with it, but there is no lasting consensus within the United States for a workable approach. It is obvious that the spread of nuclear weapons will continue.
Caroline Glick has an interesting column in The Jerusalem Post
that discusses the problem from the point of view of Israel and its dangerous neighborhood. She suggests the US and Israel must stop Iran from getting the weapons, but does not tell how this should happen. She does not explore the long term and unintended consequences of a US or Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
There is no obvious solution. This is a part of the world where people revere and encourage suicide attacks. They believe they are better off dead than alive. Significant portions of the Islamic world are fatalistic fanatics with a mission to dominate those that are not. It is a society that thrives on revenge and approaches vengeance with enthusiasm and determination. A US or Israeli attack on Iran will be avenged. Iran is no Japan. Islam stands alone as a vibrant deadly landmine planted in the field of human history. There is a wise solution, but where?