The Bomb and the Bomber

Written on March 23, 2012 by Ángeles Figueroa-Alcorta in News

If Iran goes nuclear it will change our world.

By Ari Shavit

An Iranian atom bomb will force Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt to acquire their own atom bombs. Thus a multipolar nuclear arena will be established in the most volatile region on earth. Sooner or later, this unprecedented development will produce a nuclear event. The world we know will cease to be the world we know after Tehran, Riyadh, Cairo or Tel Aviv become the 21st century’s Hiroshima.

An Iranian bomb will bring about universal nuclear proliferation. Humanity’s greatest achievement since 1945 was controlling nuclear armament by limiting the number of members in the exclusive nuclear club. This unfair arrangement created a world order that guaranteed relative world peace.

But if Iran goes nuclear and the Middle East goes nuclear so will the Third World. If the ayatollahs are allowed to have Robert Oppenheimer’s deadly toy, every emerging power in Asia and Africa will be entitled to have it. The 60-year-old world order that guaranteed world peace will collapse.

An Iranian atom bomb will give radical Islam overwhelming influence. Once nuclear, the rising Shiite power will dominate Iraq, the Gulf and international oil prices. It will spread terror, provoke conventional wars and destabilize moderate Arab nations.

As Iranian nuclear warheads will jeopardize Israel, they will imperil Europe. For the first time, hundreds of millions of citizens of free societies will live under the shadow of the nuclear might of religious fanatics. The union of ultimate fundamentalism with the ultimate weapon will imbue the world we live in with a hellish undertone.

If Israel strikes Iran it will change our world.

An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will create the most dramatic international crisis of the post-cold war era. As the Jewish state and the Shiite republic exchange blows, the Middle East will be rattled. Tensions will rise between pro-Iranian Russia, China and India and anti-Iranian United States, Britain, France and Germany. As oil prices soar higher (to $250-$300 a barrel), financial markets will panic and the world economy will experience a real setback. Read more…

Ari Shavit is senior correspondent for Haaretz, a member of its editorial board, and he is completing a book about Israel.

As published in www.nytimes.com on March 21, 2012 (a version of this op-ed appeared in print on March 22, 2012, in The International Herald Tribune).


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