Earlier today, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman announced their intention to introduce a Senate resolution “Ruling Out Containment of a Nuclear-Armed Iran,” in the words of their press release. The idea is that Graham and Lieberman want to insist that we shouldn’t live with a nuclear Iran. And if you ask what happens if Iran actually succeeds in going nuclear, Team Graham, at least, says LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.
The backstory here is that there’s an argument by “Some” (their words) that the U.S. can live with a nuclear Iran by containing it. They’re worried that if enough people come to buy that argument, no one will persist in preventing Iran from going nuclear. Fair enough. “When it comes to addressing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran,” they say in their release, “all options must be on the table — except for one, and that is containment.”
But then what happens if Iran, in fact, goes nuclear? If you rule out containing Iran, then you’ve either got to live with an unfettered nuclear Iran — basically, surrendering — or you’ve got to go to war with it. That is the complete spectrum of your remaining choices. So what does Graham want to do the day after an Iranian bomb exists? After all, responsible strategy making is about preparing for contingencies instead of hoping for the best.
“Disagree with your premise. How do you know it won’t work?” was the answer I received during an extended back-and-forth.
Sigh. OK, have it your way. But if you want to play commander-in-chief from Capitol Hill, have the honesty to put forward an actual plan for preventing a nuclear Iran — something people can analyze and debate — and have the honesty to present a backup plan in case your proposal fails. Otherwise, the day after an Iranian bomb, you’re either a warmonger or a surrender-monkey. Or, more likely, a cynic.