A day does not go by without a story about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Israel and most Americans feel that Iran's nuclear project must be stopped.
Others, like CNN's Farid Zakaria argue that Iran should be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Zakaria's "history lesson" conveniently ignores direct attacks from Iran on the Marne Corps barracks in Lebanon and other direct attacks on the United States.
Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague told the Daily Telegraph that "they are clearly continuing their nuclear weapons programme ... If they obtain nuclear weapons capability, then I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons."
Along with setting off a mad race to attain nuclear weapons that would involve Saudi Arabia, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a nuclear Iran would arm terrorists that would strike at the United States.
This brings to mind the recent Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, DC. The plan called for setting off weapons of mass destruction.
While there is disagreement on what should or shoudn't be done there is general agreement that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Which raises the question, How would the world change if Iran goes nuclear?
As stated above, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other oil rich states have said they would do whatever they needed to do to acquire nuclear weapons. Imagine, multiple nations becoming nuclear powers overnight. As Secretary Hague said, the proliferation of nations with nuclear weapons would unsettle the world order. It would increase the likelihood of nuclear weapons being used, stolen, and falling into hands of terrorists.
Can Iran be stopped from attaining nuclear weapons?
After attempting to engage the regime in Iran in negotiations, the Obama Administration has stepped up its efforts to apply financial pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear project. The pressure is being applied by the imposition of several kinds of sanctions. Most people do not believe that sanctions will convince Iran to stop its nuclear program.
Critics maintain that the sanctions are being applied too late in the game and they point to countries like China and India openly declaring that they will continue to purchase oil from Iran. With such big customers Iran can cell as much oil as it produces.
Others believe that the once popular Green movement should receive support from the United States.
But is the Green Movement a spent force? Everyone agrees that the United States missed a splendid opportunity to topple the tyrannical Iranian regime when it held back supporting it as it tried to begin negotiations with tyrants.
What military options exist?
Some critics say that the war mongers who got us involved in Iraq are back.
There are no similarities between Iraq and Iran. No one is questioning that Iran is closing in on its goal of successfully developing nuclear weapons. Nor is anyone calling for a land invasion of Iran.
Military analysts agree that the United States has the military capability to destroy or seriously set back Iran's nuclear program. Israel can also do some serious damage.
Military analyst,Edward Luttwak argues for a surgical strike by the United States to cripple Iran's program. He says that to date, the United States military has been incorrectly advising our Presidents that air operations would have to be more extensive than they need to be. Luttwak maintains that surgical strikes can do the job and that any successful operation would have negative political repercussions against the ruling elites in Iran.
There appears to be a growing consensus that sanctions alone will not stop Iran. There is also evidence that in addition to moving ahead with their nuclear program Iran is also fortifying their nuclear facilities.
The clock is speeding up and we will soon come to a point that a nuclear Iran will be a reality.
Former Captain, United States Marine Corps (1970-1975)