Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger says the U.S. should be prepared to take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, because "if we don't stop it now, we'll never stop it."
Eagleburger held his Cabinet post under President George H.W. Bush and also served in other positions under Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Carter. He sat down with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren on Thursday night to discuss the meeting in Switzerland between Iran, the U.S. and five other nations.
Asked if he has any hopes that the meeting will be productive, Eagleburger responded: "I have no expectations or high hopes for it. I just don't think anything's going to come of it because I don't think Iran intends any sort of compromise...
"My own guess is, at this stage, when it's over, Iran will have built its bomb."
Eagleburger told Van Susteren that if he had been in a position to act, "I would have made it very clear to the Chinese and the Russians that if they didn't join us in meaningful sanctions, we were going to hold it against them in every way we could."
Asked who he would prefer to negotiate with, the Chinese or the Russians, Eagleburger said "the Chinese" because "they'd be more rational."
He continued: "I would do my best to get sanctions that would really make a difference because I think, in fact, if you imposed the right kinds of sanctions, we probably could force the Iranians to stop it. If on the other hand that didn't work, I myself believe that it's worth military action to stop it. I would go whatever way is necessary."
But Eagleburger, who is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Forum for International Policy, also said he does not believe the Obama administration will be willing to take required military action.
"I don't think this administration is ever going to be prepared do that, so I don't think we'll do it. But I think the issue is so important that it needs to be stopped.
"Where the real mistake was made was to permit the North Koreans to do it. Once they had accomplished this matter of getting a bomb, you open the door wide. If we had made it clear from the very beginning that we were not going to tolerate another nuclear power on the face of the earth, and had done it in Korea, where we could have accomplished it militarily, if necessary, [it] would have put a stop to it there...
"We're going to have some nuclear nation sometime along the way that's going to pop off a bomb, and then where will we be? I don't know. I think it's a mess, and I don't like the way it's going."
Van Susteren asked why Eagleburger believes the Obama administration won't take action.
"This administration doesn't look at things that way," he said.
"I'm not sure there's much of any administration that would look on it this way, although I think there are some who understand that this is an issue not just of Iran but of the whole future of the world, if you will, and that if we don't stop it now, we'll never stop it."
He added ominously: "The consequence of a world full of nuclear powers to me is so incomprehensible in terms of the dangers that that implies. One nuclear war is going to be the last nuclear — the last war, frankly, if it really gets out of hand. And I just don't think we ought to be prepared to accept that sort of thing."
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