The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Godfather’s Rules

Remember Ted Koppel, an excellent left-leaning journalist of the old school who hosted ABC’s NightLine for many years? Since leaving ABC, he has generally espoused a progressive point of view. I don't always agree with his arguments, but they are always worth considering.

In a recent op-ed on Iran and nuclear proliferation in The New York Times, reprinted in the International Herald Tribune Koppel takes a position that surprised me. He begins the article by arguing that sanctions against Iran will not work. I agree.

But then, unlike many on the Left, he faces the very real danger of an Iranian proxy planting a nuclear device in the West. He begins with a question and a story.
What, then, can the United States do to prevent Iran from developing nuclear technology? Little or nothing. Washington should instead bow to the inevitable.

"You insist on having nuclear weapons," we should say. "Go ahead. It's a terrible idea, but we can't stop you. We would, however, like your leaders to view the enclosed DVD of 'The Godfather.' Please pay particular attention to the scene in which Don Corleone makes grudging peace with a man - the head of a rival crime family - who ordered the killing of his oldest son."

In that scene, Don Corleone says, "I forgo my vengeance for my dead son, for the common good. But I have selfish reasons." The welfare of his youngest son, Michael, is on his mind.

"I am a superstitious man," he continues. "And so if some unlucky accident should befall my youngest son, if some police officer should accidentally shoot him, or if he should hang himself in his cell, or if my son is struck by a bolt of lightening, then I will blame some of the people here. That I could never forgive."

Koppel then looks briefly at the bright side, before taking a detour into the darkest of outcomes:
If Iran is bound and determined to have nuclear weapons, let it.

The elimination of American opposition on this issue would open the way to genuine normalization between our two nations. It might even convince the Iranians that their country can flourish without nuclear weapons.

But this should also be made clear to Tehran: If a dirty bomb explodes in Milwaukee, or some other nuclear device detonates in Baltimore or Wichita, if Israel or Egypt or Saudi Arabia should fall victim to a nuclear "accident," Iran should understand that the U.S. government will not search around for the perpetrator. The return address will be predetermined, and it will be somewhere in Iran.

It’s interesting that a reasoned, mature, progressive journalist like Koppel would take a position that many progressives would decry as “collective punishment” or worse. Looks like he’s beginning to see the threat clearly. I can only say, it’s about time.