Sturm: Why coexist with a mortal Iranian threat? | AspenTimes.com

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Sturm: Why coexist with a mortal Iranian threat?

Imagine catching a lethal, fast-growing, yet operable cancer in a child before it's spread. The doctors assure a high survival rate, assuming traditional protocols. Meanwhile, a third opinion proposes no treatment, believing the child can coexist normally with cancer.

Entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the child's healthy future, how long would you Think Again before opting to remove the cancerous "Sword of Damocles" — and fear — hanging over precious life?

Alas, too often leaders charged with safeguarding life have sacrificed it on the altar of "normalization," preferring inaction to threat-mitigating, albeit difficult, operations.

Regretful that Western powers didn't avert World War II by restraining Hitler, Winston Churchill lamented, "There never was in all history a war easier to prevent by timely action than the one which has just desolated such great areas of the globe." Craving Hitler's partnership in a stable Europe, and trusting he'd abide by international treaties, European powers negotiated the Munich Agreement without Czech participation, permitting Germany to annex Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.

Today, a confrontation-wary world faces another genocidal, fanatical and global threat: Radical Islam and its various savage and infidel-hating manifestations. Like the Nazis, who pursued a "master race" through ethnic cleansing, Islamic radicals seek a sharia-compliant "master faith" — though disagreeing on the master — to crush other faiths, including Islamic ones.

Increasingly brazen, headline-grabbing terrorist organizations include the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and Yemen's Houthis. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' propagandistic snuff videos of executions by beheading, live burial and burning attract recruits willing to commit atrocities, even in Western capitals.

If the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is radical Islam's "JV" team, as President Obama called them, Iran is its Olympic team. Long recognized by the U.S. government as the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, Iran is the planet's "most dangerous regime," the title of Ted Koppel's documentary about the anti-Western theocracy. Required by Allah to wage global jihad until their Messiah's return, apocalyptic mullahs uphold their constitution's commitment to "a universal holy government and the downfall of all others."

Since its 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has sought Middle East dominance. As American leadership and involvement receded, to our allies' dismay, Iran's influence and terrorist activities — financing, weapon provisioning, intelligence, safe harbor and logistical support — expanded.

As enemies of freedom, peace, human rights and international law, militants target the beating hearts of these bedrock values — America (Great Satan) and our most reliable ally Israel (Little Satan). Though denying the Holocaust, Islamic militants and their Iranian overlord want to trigger a second one by obliterating Israel, as Hamas' charter promises.

"If (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide," Hezbollah's leader boasted. As French Jews stream into Israel following the anti-Semitic attack at a Paris kosher butcher, it simplifies the fulfillment of their "Judenrein" ambitions, especially with Israel's neighbors — Syria, Lebanon and Iraq — now firmly within Iran's grip.

Fearing nuclear-backed Islamic extremism and proliferation, successive U.S. presidents and Congresses have affirmed America's peace-through-strength strategy, insisting that "all options are on the table" to derail Iran's nuclear ambitions — even Obama.

"I don't have a policy of containment," Obama declared in a 2012 speech, promising "to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon" with military force if necessary.

Unfortunately, if you like Obama's election-year pledges, you can't keep them. In November 2013, just as ratcheted-up sanctions were forcing Iran to choose between economic collapse and dismantling its nuclear program, the administration announced its pivot to Iran engagement. In return for "freezing" its nuclear program, Iran could become "a very successful regional power," the president said.

Amid echoes of Churchill's laments, America's premier nuclear-arms negotiator, Henry Kissinger, testified before the Senate about the agreement administration officials want to sign, potentially by March 24. Having negotiated without the involvement of fretful Mideast allies, the administration aims to skirt Senate ratification — extraordinary given the far-reaching international security implications.

According to Kissinger, what "began as an international effort … to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option" has morphed into a "bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability." The impact "will be to transform the negotiations from preventing proliferation to managing it," he said, predicting, "We will live in a proliferated world in which everybody — even if that agreement is maintained — will be very close to the trigger point."

The truth is we can't coexist with a metastasizing cancer like a nuclearized Iranian terrorist state. That's why, in 2010, the Senate voted 99-0 — against Obama's wishes — for intensified sanctions, which have since been relaxed, and it's why there's overwhelming bipartisan support to restore those sanctions' negotiation-strengthening effect. Entrusted with safeguarding civilization's future, shouldn't our leaders act while the cancer is operable?

Think Again — to avoid sharing the tragic fate of the Jordanian fighter pilot, we mustn't let the Iranians cage us, leaving us vulnerable to their nuclearized Sword of Damocles.

Melanie Sturm lives in Aspen. She reminds readers to Think Again. You might change your mind. She welcomes comments at melanie@thinkagainusa.com.