Friday, January 20, 2012

A Sane Idea (in an insane world)

One topic in the current political sphere that can get me into a screaming fit rather quickly is the subject of Iran. Especially with the current crop of republican candidates sounding ready to rush (with the exception of Ron Paul) into a military attack. The 'justification' for bombing Iran is that they have a (small, minimal) nuclear program, which could someday lead to a nuclear weapon. Which, of course, would be a threat to Israel (who has plenty of nukes) and the region (which has oil), and therefore to America.
Iran has repeatedly said that they want nuclear energy to produce electricity. Which actually makes a lot of sense. Iran has a lot of oil, but oil is a lousy source for electricity, for both efficiency and the environment. As a modernizing country, Iran is facing ever increasing demand for more electricity.
Then I read a piece by Thomas Buonomo at Informed Comment that I thought was truly brilliant:

An Alternative Course of Action

Considering the doubtful prospect of an effective sanctions regime and the unpredictable consequences of a military strike or covert action, the Obama administration should consider offering the Iranian government an opportunity for rapprochement in the form of renewable energy technology and financial incentives to help it achieve its ostensible goals.

Iran has abundant geothermal, solar, hydroelectric and wind energy resources that could help it meet its domestic electricity demand without presenting an inherent threat to the international community. This would require substantial investment but Iranian leaders might be prepared to consider such an alternative if the U.S. and other UN Security Council states were prepared to offer it attractive financing options.

Such an initiative would demonstrate to Iran that the United States acknowledges its legitimate energy and national security interests and is willing to take meaningful steps to support its peaceful aspirations and integration into the international community in return for its abandonment of its nuclear program.

Now, I realize that Iran is not exactly our friend. In fact, the history of US-Iran relations is one of constant conflict, and we haven't had diplomatic relations since 1979. But imagine how relations (and the propaganda) could be reversed if America offered Iran alternative energy aid, and we began relating to each other as respectful adults. If Obama were to actually do this, he'd deserve a Nobel Peace Prize, and it would drive the neocon warmongers crazy. Plus, it might actually work.