Saturday, March 21, 2009
Obama and Iran
"When Iran successfully orbited its Omid satellite earlier this month, many in the US responded with indifference. David Albright, a noted analyst of nuclear proliferation, downplayed the Iranian space launch as 'not that sophisticated' and the satellite as 'Sputnik technology, a little metal ball that goes "beep, beep, beep"'. Unnamed US officials concurred, stating that 'There are no alarm bells ringing because of this launch,' calling the event 'largely symbolic.' But such equanimity is entirely unwarranted. ... At 60 pounds it is minute compared to modern military and civilian satellites. Yet as a first satellite for a novice space-faring nation, it compares well with the rudimentary Sputnik and even more so with the tiny Explorer 1, America's first venture into space. Those modest machines ushered in today's giant military and commerical satellites girdling the earth. ... But it is the Safir lauch vehicle that calls for even closer scrutiny. The strong synergy between ballistic missilies and space launchers has existed since the early days of the space age when the Soviet Union's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the R7, was used to orbit Sputnik 1. The US's first intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Redstone, was used to orbit the Explorer 1. Iran has followed the same route, as is evident from the Safir first stage, which is almost indistinguishable for the Shahab 3 ballistic missiles. True, its propulsion system hails back the the Scud missiles of the 1950s. But in the missile business old is not necessarily obsolete. ... The real sophistication of the Safir lies in its second stage, with its elegant configuration and design. ... The US used this technology in the past and so do some of Russia's contemporary ICBMs and submarine-launched missiles. A cleverly designed clamshell nose fairing (a protective cover), evidently made of composite materials, shields the Omid satellite duyring the Safir's liftoff. Such fairings are key elements not only in space launchers but also in multiple-warhead missiles. ... To argue that the Safir is too puny to be used as an ICBM is to miss the big picture. It is the technology and talent behind the Safir that is the cause for trepidation", my emphasis, Uzi Rubin (UR) at the WSJ, 21 February 2009.
"Tehran welcomes direct negotiations with Washington. Why not, given the enormous benefits its nuclear programs have accrued during five and a half years of negotiation with Europe? Why, not with America at the table. buy even more time to marry its impending nuclear weapons with its satellite-launching ballistic missile capability? ... First, diplomacy has not an will not reduce Iran's nuclear program. ... Imagine their dismay that President Obama is now 'opening' to Iran, thus eviscerating their tentative efforts to 'close' the diplomatic cover under which Iran has almost achieved the worst-case outcome, deliverable nuclear weapons. The West's collective failure to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions has pursuaded Iran that it faces minimal risks in greater adventurism on other fronts as well. ... Second' dealing with Hamas, Hebbollah and Syria as though they are unrelated to Iran's broader threat is exactly backwards. Mr Obama is again following Europe's mistaken view that ending the Arab-Israeli conflict will help to resolve other regional problems. ... We should deal instead with disease, not symptoms. ... Hordes of US officials with vague and overlapping mandates--special envoys, ambassadors, cabinet officials, and, of course, the vice president--are racing to be in the first photo-op with Iran. But what shoud focus our attention is the substantive risk tghat Tehran will use its opportunity to employ diplomacy to undermine US interests", my emphasis, John Bolton at the WSJ, 2 March 2009.
"Among other disclosures, the IAEA found that Iran has produced more than 1,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU), enough for a single bomb's worht of uranium after further enrichment. ... Iran now possess 5,600 centrifuges in which it can enrich uranium--a 34-fold increase from 2006--and plans to add 45,000 more over five years. ... That's not all. The IAWA says its inspectors have been denied access to a heavy water reactor in Arak, and that Iran has put a roof over the site 'rendering impossible the continued use of satellite imagery to monitor further construction inside the reactor building.' Nobody--Mr. Obama least of all-can doubt what Mr. Barak means by 'options.' Nor should the Administration doubt that an Israeli strike, however necessary and justified, could put the US in the middle of a broader Middle East war", Editorial at the WSJ, 4 March 2009.
UR, an Israeli, headed Israel's Missile Defense Organization from 1991 to 1999. The time is long past that anyone should listen to supposed US "experts" with respect to ICBMs. Full disclosure: I started first grade on 9 September 1957. The first major news story I followed was Russia's 4 October 1957 184-pound Sputnik launch. As a kid I read Aviation Week and Space Technology at the library and tried my best to understand it. See my 4 October 2008 post: http://skepticaltexascpa.blogspot.com/2008/10/happy-sputnik-day.html. Albright is feeding us nonsense. That a missile is technologically obsolete is irrelevant. The laws of physics haven't changed since 1957, such missiles are not functionally obsolete. I understood this in 1963, see my 6 September 2008 post: http://skepticaltexascpa.blogspot.com/2008/09/coming-civil-war.html. Albright, you should be ashamed of yourself. What do you think orbits satellites if not usually the same missiles used for ICBMs? "Noted analyst" indeed. There is no such thing as a "noted analyst of nuclear nonproliferation" just ahistorical fools whose lack of thinking borders on treason. I remember the Explorer 1 launch, 31 January 1958. I'm that old. I also remember the Navy's failed 6 December 1957 Vanguard launch.
I agree with JB. Our Iran "diplomacy" is backwards. If Hamas, Hezbollah and the like saw we unilaterally, or better with Russia's aid, destroyed Iran's nuclear facilites, Hamas, et. al., would collapse in a heap seeing the sherriffs came to town with sixguns blazing! Feeding Israel to the Arabs will whet their appetite for fresh meat. Get over it, supposed MidEast "experts". There is no reason for us to ask Europe anything. What can it do? How many divisions has it? Since we have no way to influence Iran, to seem to do "something", we squeeze Israel. Crazy! Photo-op diplomacy? Didn't we see this in September 1938, when Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich?
We should have destroyed Iran's nuclear facilities years ago. This would give us a wonderful opportunity to "settle" the Arab-Isareli dispute. In return for protecting the Sunni Arab staes from Iran, they pull the rug out from under the Palestinians and resettle them.