Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nuclear Lollipops

I'm feeling downright positive today, so in that vein I thought I'd give the nuclear optimists a chance. Since it's so bright in here let me put on my rose colored glasses. Ahhh... now I can better see how the spread of nuclear weapons to the Middle East can serve to stabilize the region.

Suppose we give a nuclear bomb to the Saudis. Now, for this to work in its entirety (and to stem the onslaught of criticism aimed at the United States) we have to play a bit of a con game. We will have the Saudis announce that they have been working on the bomb in private for some time and wanted to wait until they successfully completed the project before going public. The public will believe the statement for the following reasons: 1) The high level of secrecy the Saudis are able to maintain. Thus it should come as no surprise to the people; 2) From a cultural stand point the Saudis are intent on saving face. An announcement of failure or prolonged setbacks would have caused the regime to lose face, hence the delay in the announcement also makes sense; and 3) Because the people want to believe it.

So what positive, stabilizing effects would this announcement generate? It would equalize the Palestinian-Israeli playing field. The likelihood of an amicable (or do-able) agreement greatly increases when your patrons are known to be powerful too. (No time for mechanics now, I'm on a roll.) Second, it would box-in Iran. That is, Iran would much more carefully consider its future courses of action in the region, prompting a more conciliatory approach in its foreign policy. Third, it would stregthen the Al Saud family by stifling internal dissent (which would evaporate upon hearing this joyous news), and also ensure a continued supply of cheap oil imports for the US. And finally, the Arab world would rejoice. The potential gain in national (and daresay, regional) self-esteem would be immense, creating an optimism which would reverberate in economic and political spheres.

OK, it's taken me awhile to write this and now the sun is starting to set. That shining optimism I had earlier (polarized for your benefit by my rose colored glasses) isn't so bright anymore. I hope it doesn't get dark. I'm kinda scared of the dark, where the nuclear pessimists roam.

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