Powered by WebAds

Friday, July 16, 2010

Obama clenching his fist?

Time Magazine's Joe Klein reports that the Obama administration is putting the military option for dealing with Iran back on the table.
Gates is sounding more belligerent these days. “I don’t think we’re prepared to even talk about containing a nuclear Iran,” he told Fox News on June 20. “We do not accept the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons.” In fact, Gates was reflecting a new reality in the military and intelligence communities. Diplomacy and economic pressure remain the preferred means to force Iran to negotiate a nuclear deal, but there isn’t much hope that’s going to happen. “Will [sanctions] deter them from their ambitions with regards to nuclear capability?” CIA Director Leon Panetta told ABC News on June 27. “Probably not.” So the military option is very much back on the table.

What has changed? “I started to rethink this last November,” a recently retired U.S. official with extensive knowledge of the issue told me. “We offered the Iranians a really generous deal, which their negotiators accepted,” he went on, referring to the offer to exchange Iran’s 1.2 tons of low-enriched uranium (3.5% pure) for higher-enriched (20%) uranium for medical research and use. “When the leadership shot that down, I began to think, Well, we made the good-faith effort to engage. What do we do now?”
Ed Morrissey adds:
This conundrum didn’t begin with Obama’s election to the Presidency. It began in 2007, when the American intelligence community produced a laughable NIE that asserted that Iran had stopped working towards nuclear weapons in 2003. America’s allies openly scoffed at the conclusion of the NIE and critics called it a nakedly political move intended to force Bush into inaction on Iran. Despite the criticism, it worked — and it allowed Barack Obama, among many others, to claim that Bush was too much of a cowboy and a war monger to be trusted with power. In fact, in the same year, Obama asserted at a presidential debate that he wanted to meet one-on-one with the Iranian leader (although he later denied that he meant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) without preconditions in order to reach a peaceful settlement of the issue.

What this produced was a three-year window for Tehran to pursue its nuclear-weapon program with little risk of interference. Obama continued his open-hand rhetoric while grudgingly pursuing more sanctions, while Iran either ignored Obama, lectured him on the primacy of Islam, or gleefully insulted him on the world stage. Obama’s “smart power” diplomatic team fell for the Peanuts football ploy that Iran has used for the last seven years in exploiting splits in the Western alliance by offering terms and then changing the terms when the West agrees to them.

Now that the Obama administration has wasted more than a year on the same kind of fruitless diplomacy that had already been tried over and over, they have suddenly reached the conclusion that Iran doesn’t want peace; it wants nukes. And if it wants nukes more than it wants peace, they’re likely to want the nukes for a specific target. All of this was blindingly apparent in 2007, but Obama somehow figured that starting over from scratch would work, since he was the change that the world wanted and needed.

A military strike is still a desperation move, for all of the reasons that the Bush team argued. However, the only option worse is an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. We’ve wasted three years getting back to that same realization, but you can bet that the Iranians haven’t wasted a day of it.
There's little doubt the Iranians are pursuing a nuclear weapon, and perhaps President Obama's advisers are thinking in terms of a military solution. But the President himself is not.

Obama continues to repeat at every opportunity that he wants to 'engage' with Iran, that he's open to negotiations, that he's not closing the door on negotiations, and so on and so forth.

He continues to insist on watering down and delaying any action against Iran, whether it's negotiating for months before finally putting a sanctions resolution through the Security Council (and that only after he realized the consequences of Iran accepting his enrichment offer through the offices of Brazil and Turkey six months after the offer was made), or whether it's insisting on Presidential waivers being inserted in the United States' own sanctions against the Iranian regime.

This President is not going to pull the trigger on Iran, regardless of how badly Bob Gates or David Petraeus wants him to do it. Pulling the trigger on Iran is going to be left to others. And then we will see how Obama reacts.

What could go wrong?


At 4:37 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'll be very surprised if the US takes military action against Iran in the next 12 months. My guess is nothing is going to happen.


Post a Comment

<< Home