Friday, August 1, 2008

Iran's Bomb

"Iran's test salvo of ballistic missiles last week together with recent threatening rhetoric by commanders of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards emphasizes how close the Middle East is to a fundamental, in fact an irreversible turning point. ... The regime is buying the short additional period of time it needs to produce deliverable nuclear weapons, the strategic objective it has been pursuing clandestinely for 20 years. Between Iran and its long-sought objective, however, a showdown may fall: targeted military action, either Israeli or American. ... Rather , the crucial turning point is when Iran masters all the capabilities to weaponize without further external possibility of stopping it. Then the decision to weaponize, and its timing, is Tehran's alone. ... All we do know is that, after five years of failed diplomacy by the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany), Iran is simply five years closer to nuclear weapons. And yet, true to form, State Department comments to Congress last week--even as Iran's missiles were ascending--downplayed Iran's nuclear progress, ignoring the cost of failed diplomacy. ... That is why Israel is now at an urgent decision point: whether to use targeted military force to break Iran's indigenous control over the nuclear fuel cycle at one or more critical points. If sucessful, such highly risky and deeply-unattracive air strikes, or sabotage will not resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis. ... But the urgency of the situation has not impressed Barack Obama or the EU-3. Remarkably, on July 9, Sen. Obama, as if stumbling on a new idea, said Iran 'must suffer threats of economic sanctions' and that we needed 'direct diplomacy ... so we avoid provocation' and 'give strong incentives .. to change their behavior'," John Bolton (JB) at the WSJ, 15 July 2008.

"To make an argument that the U.S. should support Israel in a bombing mission to Iran is tantamount to saying the U.S. should undertake the mission itself. ... However, given that Iran is on a path to becoming the eventual regional hegemonic state, a prospect that acutely concentrates the minds of all of its neighbors, why not draw on the training and investment the U.S. has made in its other ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, to join in a joint strike on Iran nuclear facilities. Or just let the Saudis do it", James Murphy (JM) letter to the WSJ, 21 July 2008.

Diplomacy with Iran is nonsense. As Von Clausewitz reminds us in On War, "War is diplomacy by other means". What doesn't Obama understand?

I agree with JM.

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