If Gadhafi Kept His Nukes, We'd Have a Different Story
So now's the time to force Iran to give them up, too: Israeli ambassador
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2011 7:29 PM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – Moammar Gadhafi made a calculated decision to abandon his nuclear program earlier this decade, mainly because it was in his own self-interest to do so, writes Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in the Wall Street Journal. Gadhafi feared the US would do to him what it did to Saddam Hussein if he pressed ahead. Now imagine if Gadhafi hadn't wavered and possessed a nuclear bomb today, writes Oren. It's doubtful the US and its allies would be raining down airstrikes if he had his finger on a nuclear button.

Oren's point isn't to tease out the irony of Gadhafi's decision—he bailed on nukes to avoid a US attack, and now he's being attacked because he bailed on nukes. It's to note that Gadhafi's example might embolden Iran about its nuclear program and to prod the world community to toughen up on Tehran. "America's policy, like Israel's, is that 'all options are on the table,'" he writes. "We know that only a credible threat of military intervention can convince nondemocratic regimes to abandon their pursuit of nuclear weapons." Sanctions and empty threats won't cut it anymore. "It is especially vital now to substantiate the 'all options' policy."