Type to search

Iran: plan A v. plan B

GB Geo-Blog

Iran: plan A v. plan B

Writing an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Wednesday, Alan Kuperman, the director of the Nuclear Proliferation Program at the University of Texas in Austin, concluded:

“We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponing military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.”

He dismissed sanctions and the option of letting Israel do the dirty work for the United States and the world. I wholeheartedly agree with him that the time to act has long passed, and that Israel should not be asked to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, I strongly believe, as I argued a month ago, that plan A should involve the imposition of unilateral sanctions, leaving Mr. Kuperman’s preferred strategy as plan B. At this stage, another six months will not matter much.

While I believe that President Obama likely will be re-elected in 2012, largely because the economy will be doing very well during the next three years, and unemployment will be falling through most of this period, he should start thinking about his legacy. He should not squander two terms in power like Bill Clinton. Health reform will not be his legacy. It more likely will turn out be an albatross since whatever bill finally is approved early next year will fall far short of producing the changes needed for the U.S. healthcare system. The bill likely will be followed by annual revisions and fine tuning.

President Obama’s best course of action to leave a lasting and outstanding legacy is to act on his pledge to attack authoritarianism and the suppression of human rights and freedoms around the world. Very early in the new year, he should get in front of the American people and the world to renew his pledge by condemning the regime in Iran and committing to stand with the people of Iran who want their country and their freedoms back. He also should announce that immediately the U.S. will impose sanctions and he should invite the rest of the free world to join him.

As I suggested in an earlier blog, the U.S. can make sanctions effective, even if they are unilateral, by clearly and unequivocally letting every company and country know that anyone who directly or indirectly violates the sanctions on Iran will be banned from doing business in the U.S. and with any U.S.-based companies, and their assets in the U.S. will be seized. I believe that in less than six months the thugs of Iran will capitulate.

If I am wrong, plan B (Kuperman’s military strike against the nuclear facilities) automatically would go into effect. It should take almost six months to plan the attacks anyhow.

The opinions expressed in this blog are personal and do not reflect the views of Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public ad International Affairs.


You Might Also Enjoy This in GB


  1. Hass December 25, 2009

    Hate to break it to you but the same people of Iran that you think Obama should “support” through sanctions and then bombings are the one who will suffer the consequences of such policies AND also massively support their nuclear program and have a long historical resentment against other foreign powers (Britain and Russia) whose colonialist ambitions espoused meting out similar treatment to Iranians in the past. Now America will join that ignoble list of foreign bullies.

  2. Fred Lazar December 27, 2009

    First, I do not approve bombing of the nuke sites as the preferred option. But, I have no problem with attacking these sites as a back-up in case sanctions fail.
    Second, I am aware that real and effective sanctions will hurt the Iranian people in the short run. But if they lead to the downfall of the entire ruling regime once and for all, and result in real democracy and freedom, the people of Iran will recover quickly and move the country to the heights that it is capable of attaining.
    In light of what is happening now in Iran, if Obama does not act immediately and decisively, the Iranian people will never forgive the U.S. It was always absurd for the U.S. to try to engage the existing leaders of the country. On the other hand, if he does do the right thing, and the thugs and tyrants are disposed, I am sure the people of Iran will be pleased to sit down with the U.S. and to have them bring their future to fruition.

Leave a Comment