Uranium and the social reaction

For those who, like me, aren't au fait with the reasons for our future attack on Iran (let's not kid ourselves about this: there will be a military attack), I found some interesting information about uranium enrichment. Much as the British Ambassador to the UN just said that there was 'no fuel value' in enrichment, it seems that in fact many reactors do use uranium enriched to the degree that Iran wants to enrich their fuel. The problem is that to enrich to this level takes Iran a step or two closer to the highly enriched uranium used in weapons.

I don't think I'm falling into Condoleezza Rice's trap when I say that it does look like Iran wants to build an atomic bomb. I don't much like the regime in Iran (the anti-Semitism in particular is thoroughly vile), but I would question the right of the US, Israel, France UK et al to prevent Iran from having the bomb. As far as I'm concerned, atomic weapons are inherently terrible… it looks to me as if Iran not being allowed to have the bomb is just an example of how the West views itself in comparison to other regions. Our governments treat Muslim powers as if they are intrinsically wicked, unstable and risky whereas we are all responsible, non-threatening and can be trusted with a bomb.

This regionally specific attitude has been at the heart of British, French and American foreign policy for hundreds of years. It doesn't seem to have worked that well, and it reminds me of Howard Becker's social reaction theory (aka 'labelling'). If I remember correctly, the theory says that when you label an individual or group as criminal, irresponsible or – to use sociological terminology – deviant, it is likely that they will respond to this label by behaving in a more deviant way. Is it any wonder then that the more we condemn and attack and mistrust those we disagree with, the more they seem to scare us?

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