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Monday, April 13, 2009

Roger Cohen, Mohamed ElBaradei and BDS

It's Monday and that means suffering through another Roger Cohen column in the New York Times. This week, he's using feckless 'nuclear watchdog' Mohamed ElBaradei as proof that Iran's nuclear weapons capability - which Cohen keeps advising need not be feared - is all George W. Bush's fault (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
For Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, “a combination of ignorance and arrogance” under the Bush administration squandered countless diplomatic opportunities with Iran and so allowed it to forge ahead with its nuclear program.

Referring twice to Dick Cheney as “Darth Vader,” ElBaradei told me in an interview that “U.S. policy consisted of two mantras — Iran should not have the knowledge and should not spin one single centrifuge. They kept saying, wait, Iran is not North Korea, it will buckle. That was absolutely a mistake.”
Of course, that last statement makes no sense. If Bush and Cheney were so sure that Iran would buckle, why worry about them at all? But in fact, Bush and Cheney were very concerned about Iran.

The truth is that Cohen is giving support in 'America's paper website of record' to ElBaradei's excuses for the fact that it took nearly three years from the date that his agency first reported that Iran had failed to comply with its agreements under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty until the Council took up the matter in 2006. It took ElBaradi's IAEA nearly a year to make that determination from the time that Iranian opposition groups reported it. What did the IAEA do between 2003 and 2006? It wrote a report to the Security Council.

Since 2006, ElBaradei has been an unabashed apologist for the nuclear aspirations of his Arab 'brothers.' He has tried to help Syria become a nuclear power. He has blamed Israel (generally) and even accused it of planting uranium at the site of a destroyed Syrian nuclear reactor. He has been soft on Iran and he has generally justified the Arab-Muslim world's pursuit of nuclear weapons as a deterrent against the Joooos. It's nor surprising to see Roger Cohen taking up cause with ElBaradei. They are birds of a feather. And now they are playing to the Obamanation by adding Bush Derangement Syndrome into the cocktail. How appropriate.

Cohen is now advocating American 'realism.'
American realism is now essential. It should heed ElBaradei’s view: “I don’t believe the Iranians have made a decision to go for a nuclear weapon, but they are absolutely determined to have the technology because they believe it brings you power, prestige and an insurance policy.”
I must be missing something here. Why doesn't 'realism' include Ahmadinejad and Khatami's statements about destroying that 'cancer' known as Israel? Why does Cohen regard every statement about Iran's nuclear capability being for 'peaceful purposes' as 'realism' but not those statements in which Iran threatens to destroy Israel? And of course, in Cohen and ElBaradei's world, this is all going to happen - the US is going to cave in to normalize relations with Iran - so long as Israel doesn't mess it up.
“Israel would be utterly crazy to attack Iran,” ElBaradei said. “I worry about it. If you bomb, you will turn the region into a ball of fire and put Iran on a crash course for nuclear weapons with the support of the whole Muslim world.”

To avoid that nightmare Obama will have to get tougher with Israel than any U.S. president in recent years. It’s time.
Well, Cohen's new target of hatred - Shimon Peres - had something to say about that on Sunday.
President Shimon Peres had aggressive words for Iran on Sunday, seemingly threatening military action if U.S. President Barack Obama's overtures to the Islamic republic fail to bear fruit.


Peres went on to say that he hoped Obama's call for dialogue with Ahmadinejad would be heeded, but warned that if such talks don't soften the Iranian president's approach "we'll strike him."
Israel is an independent actor and finally has a government that will look out for Israel's interests before anyone else's. If the Obama administration doesn't stop Iran, I would bet that we will.


At 4:32 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Shimon Peres has a reputation as a dove so one might think it would give the Roger Cohens of the world pause. The fact he doesn't even mention it shows that what drives his and the Administration's worldview isn't old school realism - its really appeasement. There are those who will if they aren't forced to acknowledge it, refuse to see the bad guys as bad guys because they think dialogue can bring them around to the view a peaceful resolution of differences between nations can avert wars. Even Peres isn't yet that stupid to buy it in the case of Iran.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Roger Cohen wants Obama to get tougher with Israel to keep it from spoiling that welcome US-Iran detente around the corner. But Israel isn't the only country in the Middle East threatened by Iran's neo-imperialism. He must have missed the news this weekend of Hezbollah's attempt to subvert Egypt's regime, which could not happened without Iranian backing. If Cohen and Obama want to fulfill their fantasy of an Iran that stops stirring up trouble in the region, its more than just Israel they're going to have to put the screws to. Life is more complicated than people wearing blinders want to admit and for all his intellect, Cohen is ignorant of what is happening in the Middle East beyond Iran.

Realism? Far from it!

At 7:53 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

As I already referenced under "Iranian Sanctions, European-style" thread on what Max Boot has to say about Roger Cohen's Walter Mitty Iranian fantasies, perhaps the best line is the punch line that only Boot could deliver with verve and panache:

So you see the Iranians are ready to change their ways, to become a paragon of Western liberal virtue. The only thing standing in the way is mindless Israeli belligerence. If only the nasty Israelites would let the nice Iranians have a nuclear program, everyone could walk off into the sunset, arm in arm. It is rare to get such insights outside of official Iranian government organs.

And its about as likely to happen as Mahmoud Ahmedinejad doffing on a yamulke and singing "Hava Nagila!"


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