Kroenig is correct to identify the Iranian nuclear program as a foremost threat to American national security. But he is wrong — or at least premature — to advocate for a preemptive strike. A strike now would exchange a theoretical nightmare (a difficult-to-contain nuclear Iran) with an actual nightmare (an all-out conventional war across the Middle East).
The U.S. may one day have to stop Iran’s nuclear program by force. Before it takes such drastic action, it should, once again, attempt to show Iran the possibility of a different future, one in which it is allowed to rejoin the community of nations.
The president would have to spend significant political capital, in an election year no less, by once again reaching out to America’s foremost adversary. He could do it in such a way that doesn’t convey weakness, but simply horror at the prospect of war.
Obama would have to convince the Iranians that he is offering one final chance at real dialogue — not out of weakness, but because, as a peace-loving person, he doesn’t want to order the destruction of Iran’s military and industrial infrastructure. And he could offer material prospects for normalized relations with the West, which might be more meaningful now that he has demonstrated his commitment to isolating the regime economically (IAGDPYOY).