Roger Cohen, to his great credit, faces Iranian Jewish exiles in Los Angeles. And he re-states his basic case:
I think pragmatism lies at the core of the revolution’s survival. It led to cooperation with Israel in cold-war days; it ended the Iraq war; it averted an invasion of Afghanistan in 1998 after Iranian diplomats were murdered; it brought post-9/11 cooperation with America on Afghanistan; it explains the ebb and flow of liberalization since 1979; and it makes sense of the Jewish presence.
Pragmatism is also one way of looking at Iran’s nuclear program. A state facing a nuclear-armed Israel and Pakistan, American invasions in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, and noting North Korea’s immunity from assault, might reasonably conclude that preserving the revolution requires nuclear resolve.
What’s required is American pragmatism in return, one that convinces the mullahs that their survival is served by stopping short of a bomb.
The real pragmatism, it seems to me, will require finding a way to live with and balance Iran's inevitable nuclear bomb. I don't believe that there's a military way to stop the development of such a bomb if Iran genuinely wants it. Practically, it would be close to impossible to actually destroy the facilities, while any real attempt to do so would also unite all Persians behind their toxic theocratic leadership. So it would be another Gaza: a tiny short term breathing space that didn't remove the threat and actually made the long-term conflict much worse.
Gaza was a warning, an overture to a brutal and desperate future for the Middle East. It's a future Obama should do all he can to forestall.
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