Exclusive: Bolton's View on a Nuclear Middle East
Former US Ambassador in the UN John Bolton says that Iran already has an “insurance policy” against Israeli attack, and that Obama’s “contain Iran” policy is doomed to failure. He also feels that the only solution for Israel and the Palestinian Authority is what he calls the "three-state solution."
Speaking with IsraelNationalRadio’s Walter Bingham, Bolton said, “The fact that Iran’s nuclear reactor in Bushehr is about to begin operations means that Iran now has two viable alternate routes to nuclear weapons. One is the uranium enrichment route, which has been much discussed in recent years, and now with the production of plutonium in Bushehr... That’s why there was a time urgency regarding Bushehr in the event that anyone wanted to do something about it, because once it begins operations, attacking it would mean the release of deadly radiation into the atmosphere, affecting the Arab states on the other side of the Persian Gulf."
"So while the Bushehr reactor is not producing plutonium today or tomorrow," he concludes, "this will change over time, giving Iran a real insurance policy if someone decides to attack the reactor.”
The Second Route
He noted that the United States has no intention of attacking Iran, and that the default scenario now is that Iran will actually soon become a nuclear power – “unless of course Israel does something. But I don’t see Obama doing anything; I think it is just not in his political DNA. But Israel has a real problem now, because even if it attacks Iran’s uranium program, inevitably the Bushehr reactor, or the 12-20 other reactors that Iran wants to build – and Russia will be glad to build them, at a billion dollars a pop - will give Iran that second route to nuclear weapons.”
In short, Bolton sums up, “now that Bushehr is being fueled, this gives Iran something that neither Syria nor Iraq ever achieved, because Israel destroyed their nuclear reactors. We now have a soon-to-be-functioning, 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor in the hands of a regime that has sworn to wipe out Israel.”
Nuclear Mess in the Middle East
Even worse, however, Bolton agreed with Bingham that Iranian success in achieving nuclear power could spark a nuclear arms race that could give countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt nuclear weapons. “There’s no doubt that this will happen,” Bolton said, “and that’s why I’m afraid that Obama’s real plan B, which is that we can live with and contain a nuclear Iran like we did with Soviet Russia, is so badly mistaken. I don’t think we can live with and contain a nuclear Iran, but even if I am wrong about that, it won’t stop with Iran; many other countries would get nuclear weapons. So that within 5-10 years, you could have a Middle East with half-a dozen nuclear-weapon states, and that’s inherently a recipe for potential disaster.”
PA-Israel Talks "Doomed to Fail"
Regarding the direct talks between Netanyahu and Abbas scheduled to begin this week, Bolton said, “One of the reasons why I think these talks are inherently doomed to failure is because there is no one in the PA who can commit to the hard decisions and concessions that have to be made during negotiations, or carry through with them; Israel will not and should not talk to Hamas, and so the bottom line is that the Obama Administration has wasted 19 months of effort that will actually leave the region less stable than it was to begin with.”
“The talks will almost certainly fail,” Bolton predicts, and concludes that having them in the first place is a very short-term victory for the US, leaving both the US and Abbas weaker than they were before, and the entire region less stable.
The Three-State Solution
Bolton does not favor the two-state solution, partly because Hamas, which runs Gaza, and Fatah, which runs the PA areas in Judea and Samaria, are barely on speaking terms. “For the benefit of the Palestinian people and the security of Israel,” he says, “there should be a 3-state solution: Gaza should be given back to Egypt, tying it into a real economy there and rendering it much better off. Then parts of the West Bank should [somehow] be relinked to Jordan for the same objective. This would give Palestinian families a viable economic future. Let’s give up on this messianic idea of a political state [instead of the Palestinian Authority], which has resulted only in the Palestinian people being used by other elements.”