I was going to say that for the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US there was more or less graceful degradation, but that isn't true. First off, there were serious long term problems in some of the colonies (millions died when India partitioned and US forces are again engaged in fighting an insurgency in the Philippines). And, France experienced a coup and a change of Constitution as a result of the events in Algeria. The UK experienced terrorism for quite a while due to Ireland. In the US we had an attempted presidential assassination and then the same generic freedom fighters shot up the US House of Representatives a few years later.
Which brings me to this question I received in an EMail today:
Is the President’s ringing endorsement of nuclear energy power plants actually an attempt to cover up refining of weapons grade uranium for warheads to use against Iran?Of course not, but it should give us pause to think about the fact that other nations may be viewing their nuclear programs through their own positive and peaceful lenses. And, just the reverse, there are some lying scoundrels out there who should remind us of Mary Therese McCarthy's line, "every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."♠
What do we think is really happening in Iran? I bet there are people in Iran who see their nuclear program as purely peaceful in intent, with no interest in weaponizing the nuclear results. On the other hand, there are those, for sure, who intend it as a way of ensuring Iranian military power in the Middle East, but for maintaining the peace (and deterring the US and Israel). Then there are those who think that they need nuclear weapons so that Iran can right past wrongs.
On the other hand, there is no putting the nuclear genie back in the bottle. We have to make our choices and live with the consequences. I am glad that the President has been trying to find a peaceful solution to the Iran question, but I am not sure there is an easy answer.
My own preference is that we go for deterrence and that as part of that we should include bringing members of the Iranian military and civilian leadership to the United States to go to nuclear weaponeering school, so they can see that the consequences of the detonation of a nuclear weapon can be serious. Further, we should quietly offer Iran information on securing and safing nuclear weapons. I think it would be worth our while to provide information on Permissive Action Links (PAL), in the hopes that Iran would develop its own PAL, so that if their weapons fell into the wrong hands they would not be readily useable. And woe be unto them who don't understand that Iran's national interests may well shift in twenty years and at that point the great Satan may no longer be the US.
Regards — Cliff
♠ These words were uttered on the Dick Cavett show and were about Lillian Hellman. Cue the lawyers.