Sunday, September 13, 2009

Obama and Ahmadinejad 

There was a little flurry of Iran news during the week past as on Monday Mr. Ahmadinejad announced that Iran considers the nuclear issue closed and rejects any halt to [uranium] enrichment. Then on Wednesday Iran presented "a package of proposals to diplomats representing the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany" outlining the subjects on which Iran would be willing to negotiate with the civilized world.

Ahmadinejad clearly (and rightly, in my opinion) believes that neither the United States nor anyone else is willing to take whatever steps might be necessary to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and the delivery systems necessary to make them an imminent threat to their neighbors and even some European countries.

The Europeans have been negotiating with Iran for what seems like at least a decade, without any results except more negotiations. The IAEA, the UN's nuclear proliferation watchdog, has been doing just that--watching as Iran developed the capability to enrich uranium to weapons-grade concentrations of U-235. Russia and China, both of which possess vetoes in the UN Security Council, have repeatedly refused to consider any but the lightest sanctions on Iran for violating UNSC resolutions regarding nuclear proliferation, and indeed Russia has even assisted Iran's efforts. So have many European companies, shipping dual-use materials to Iran that Iran has used in building its uranium enrichment industry.

President Obama either does not recognize the threat that Iran poses to its neighbors, recognizes it but does not believe it is either immediate or serious, or recognizes it but doesn't care. The administration has repeatedly said that it wants to negotiate with Iran about its nuclear ambitions, and is apparently still willing to negotiate even though Ahmadinejad has clearly stated that nuclear development is a non-negotiable issue. I believe this is whistling past the graveyard, except that in this case, the goblins are real and dangerous.

In an opinion piece (registration and/or subscription probably required) that appeared in the September 10 issue of the Wall Street Journal, former Senators Daniel R. Coats and Charles S. Robb and retired general Charles Wald stated that Iran will be able to produce a nuclear bomb using enriched uranium within a year, and urged Mr. Obama to begin gearing up for military action against Iran in case diplomacy failed to ameliorate the threat. They believe (as do I, FWIW) that without a credible military threat to back up diplomacy, Iran will continue on its merry way to developing the capability to, among other things, "wipe Israel off the map." If Mr. Obama thinks things are difficult now, wait until that happens.

In From The Cold blog has posted an analysis, which I commend to you.

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