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Threatening Iran

(2008-06-11 20:26:06)
标签:

杂谈

分类: 英文
 Editorial

Threatening Iran

Published: June 10, 2008

Israeli leaders spent last week talking tough about Iran and threatening possible military action. The United States and the other major powers need to address Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but with more assertive diplomacy — including greater financial pressures — not more threats or war planning.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who is bedeviled by a corruption scandal that could drive him from office, led the charge. “The Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means,” he said in Washington, a day before meeting President Bush at the White House.

Then Israel’s transportation minister, Shaul Mofaz, who is jockeying to replace Mr. Olmert as head of the ruling Kadima Party if the prime minister is forced to resign, declared that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites looks “unavoidable.”

We don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors in Washington — or what Mr. Olmert heard from Mr. Bush. But saber-rattling is not a strategy. And an attack on Iran by either country would be disastrous.

Unlike in 1981, when Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, there is no single target. A sustained bombing campaign would end up killing many civilians and still might not cripple Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran also has many frightening ways to retaliate. And even Arab states who fear Iran shudder at the thought of America, or its ally Israel, bombing another Muslim country and the backlash that that could provoke.

Mr. Olmert may be trying to divert attention from his political troubles. Still, there is no denying a growing and understandable sense of urgency in Israel, which Iran’s president has threatened with elimination. A recent report by United Nations inspectors on Iran’s nuclear progress, and worrisome links to military programs, has only fanned those fears.

Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, is scheduled to visit Tehran later this month to discuss, in more detail, an incentives package first offered in 2006 by the United States and other major powers. It is likely to fall far short — both in incentives and punishments — of what is needed to get Tehran’s attention.

There is no indication it will contain tougher sanctions — including a broader ban on doing business with Iranian banks and bans on arms sales and new investments. It also needs a stronger commitment from Washington to lift sanctions and to fully engage Iran if it abandons its nuclear efforts. The United States is the only major power not sending a diplomat with Mr. Solana.

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain disagree on holding direct talks with Iran (Mr. Obama would; Mr. McCain would not). But last week, both endorsed enhanced sanctions, including limiting gasoline exports to Iran. That is an idea well worth exploring. Iran relies on a half-dozen companies for 40 percent of its gasoline imports. The United Nations Security Council is unlikely to authorize a squeeze, but quiet American and European appeals might persuade some companies to slow deliveries, and it would grab Tehran’s attention.

On his trip to Europe this week, President Bush is expected to press the Europeans to further reduce Iran-related export credits and cut ties with Iran’s financial institutions. He also must make clear that America will do its part on incentives. We wish he had the will and the skill to propose a grand bargain — and to send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deliver it. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of that. At a minimum, he should send a senior official with Mr. Solana to Tehran.

If sanctions and incentives cannot be made to work, the voices arguing for military action will only get louder. No matter what aides may be telling Mr. Bush and Mr. Olmert — or what they may be telling each other — an attack on Iran would be a disaster.

威胁伊朗

以色列领袖上周放出强硬的话,威胁可能对伊朗采取军事行动。美国和其他大国要解决德黑兰的核野心,但不是用威胁或者战争计划,而是以更自信的外交,包括实施更大的经济压力。

  以色列总理奥尔默特深陷可能导致他下台的贪腐丑闻,是他发起了这种指控。在白宫会晤布什总统的前一天,他在华盛顿表示必须用所有可能的手段制止伊朗的威胁。

  然后以色列的运输部长莫法兹(Shaul Mofaz)宣布,以色列袭击伊朗核地点看来是“不可避免的”。若奥尔默特被迫辞职,莫法兹渴望取代奥尔默特成为执政的“前进党(Kadima Party)”的党魁。

  我们不知道华盛顿闭门会谈背后的事情,不知道奥尔默特从布什那里听到什么。但叫嚣武力不是战略。无论两国无论谁袭击伊朗都将是一个灾难。

  在1981年,以色列摧毁伊朗奥西拉克(Osirak)核反应堆,但如今没有单一的目标。持续的轰炸将造成很多平民伤亡,而且可能根本无法削弱伊朗的核计划。德黑兰也有很多可怕的报复方法。甚至连畏惧伊朗的阿拉伯国家,想到美国或其盟友以色列再轰炸一个穆斯林国家都会不寒而栗,可能挑起反弹。

  奥尔默特可能试图转移大家对其政治麻烦的视线。但是,以色列的紧迫感无可否认与日俱增,这是可理解的,因为伊朗的总统曾扬言消灭以色列。联合国检查员最近一份关于伊朗核计划的报告只会助长这些恐惧。

  欧盟外交政策高级代表索拉纳(Javier Solana)计划在本月晚些时候访问德黑兰,更详细地讨论美国和其他大国在2006年首次提出的奖励方案。无论是奖励还是惩罚,它可能远远未能引起德黑兰的注意。

  没有迹象表明它将包含更严厉的制裁——包括更广泛地禁止与伊朗银行做生意,禁止军售和投资。而且它需要华盛顿作出更强的承诺,如果伊朗弃核就取消制裁,全面接触伊朗。美国是唯一一个没有派出外交官追随索拉纳的大国。

  参议员奥巴马和马侃在与伊朗直接谈判的问题上意见不一(奥巴马统一;马侃不同意)。但上周,两人都认可实施制裁,包括限制对伊朗的汽油出口。这是一个值得探讨的想法。伊朗40%的进口汽油要依赖几家公司。联合国安理会不大可能授权挤压,但美国和欧洲静悄悄的呼吁可能说服一些公司放缓交付,这会引起德黑兰的注意。

  布什总统本周访问欧洲,预计他会敦促欧洲人进一步减少与伊朗相关的出口信贷,切断与伊朗金融机构的联系。他还必须清楚表明美国将作出自己的奖励。我们希望他有意愿有技巧地提出一个大计,并派出国务卿赖斯兑现计划。不幸的是,没有这样的迹象。他至少应该派出一名参议院官员和索拉纳一起前往伊朗。

  如果没有制定可行的制裁和奖励,呼吁军事行动的声音只会有增无减。无论幕僚怎样给布什和奥尔默特讲,无论布什和奥尔默特互相说了什么,袭击伊朗将是一个灾难

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