Friday, October 25, 2013

Sheldon Adelson wants to make the United States a nuclear terrorist

As I've mentioned before, an immediate problem with the U.S. or Israel criticizing Iran for its alleged1 efforts to develop nuclear weapons is that the U.S. and Israel both have nuclear weapons. If nuclear weapons are inherently evil (which is what I actually believe) then the U.S. and Israel with their actual stockpiles of nukes are a bigger problem than Iran, which only has the potential to develop those weapons later.

To get around the hypocrisy argument, the U.S. and Israel argue that Iran, unlike themselves, can't be trusted with nukes because Iran would not use those weapons responsibly. And by "use those weapons responsibly" they mean not use them. It's okay to hold those weapons as deterrence, but not okay to use them in a first nuclear strike or to blackmail other countries with the threat of a nuclear strike. While the U.S. and Israel would never do such a thing, Iran might. So the world shouldn't allow them to have nuclear weapons.

At least that's how I understand how the American and Israeli argument works. The Israeli argument is more tacit than the American one because Israel does not publicly acknowledge that it has nukes. But I still think the above paragraph is roughly the logic behind both country's excuse for why their position on the Iranian nuclear program is not pure hypocrisy.

If you keep that argument in mind, then Sheldon Adelson's proposal to nuke a desert region of Iran and then tell them that unless they give up their nuclear program Tehran will be next, completely undercuts the high moral ground underlying the American position. He is proposing that the U.S. launch a first nuclear strike and then engage in nuclear blackmail. If the U.S. adopted Adelson's proposal, then its the Americans who can't be trusted with nuclear weapons, rather than the Iranians. (On the contrary, if someone like Adelson ran the U.S., Iran would justifiably need a nuclear arsenal as a deterrent--a legitimate reason under the American/Israeli argument). As Booman says, this looks like pretty compelling evidence that Adelson is nuts. No one should listen to that homicidal maniac.

1- I say "alleged" because officially Iran denies that is what they are doing.