Sheldon Adelson, American mogul, believes that President Obama is not only mollycoddling Iran but failing to use a key vehicle for diplomacy that has too long been ignored: nuclear weapons. Adelson called on Obama to nuke Iran last week. Not Tehran mind you. We would start with a nuclear explosion in the Iranian desert.
Adelson is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. He also owns the Israeli daily newspaper Israel HaYom. He was the largest financial backer of Newt Gingrich in his campaign for president. He then donated tens of millions of dollars to defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. His newspaper, Israel HaYom is viewed as closely allied with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Adelson made his startling remarks at Yeshiva University after moderator Rabbi Shmuley Boteach asked whether the US should negotiate with Iran.
Adelson, the nuclear diplomat, barked “What are we going to negotiate about?” Instead, he suggested that we call up the Iranian president and say “watch this” before exploding a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert: “Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes.'” Of course, we would have to add some decontamination equipment and radiation exposure measures.
This proposal appears based on Adelson’s belief that either Iranians are not aware of what nuclear explosions look like or not aware that we would be insane enough to nuke their nation (and spread radioactive fallout into the atmosphere) just to make a point. Of course, we signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater and in space. Of course, this would not be a test but an insane demonstration of power.
Rabbi Boteach did not appear in any way shocked by the suggestion of nuking a nation as a diplomatic gesture: “So a tremendous demonstration of American strength? So that they would get the message?” Adelson responded “It’s the only thing they understand.” It is not clear why Iranians can possibly understand anything short of a nuclear explosion. Adelson insisted that Obama does not realize that this is all simply “a game of chicken, who’s going to blink first?” Or in this case, who will explode the first nuclear weapon to make a point.
Rabbi Boteach later insisted that the suggestion to nuke Iran should get people to think about the double standard applied to Israel. Some have argued that it is a double standard in standing silent to Israel’s possessing nuclear weapons while threatening to go to war over Iran’s possession. However, Boteach was referring to the view that the U.S. is far harder on Israel than Iran — despite billions in aid that we continue to give one of the wealthiest nations on Earth. Boteach added “I would hope that those who seem alarmed by Sheldon’s overstatement on the extent to which the United States should go to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon will at least protest that much more loudly against its actual development.”
Most people are really not prompted to think more deeply about world stability but Edelson’s sanity. It also reflects an utter detachment from the implications of spreading radiation over parts of a major nation, if not over much of the Middle East.