The New York Times
reports on yesterday’s “bombshell” disclosure that Iran has a second undisclosed nuclear processing facility:
President Obama and his allies raced Friday to use their revelation of a secret Iranian nuclear enrichment plant as long-sought leverage against Tehran, demanding that the country allow highly intrusive international inspections and propelling the confrontation with Tehran to a new and volatile pitch.
In a day of high drama at an economic summit meeting, American, British and French officials declassified some of their most closely held intelligence and scrambled to describe a multiyear Iranian effort, tracked by spies on the ground and satellites above, to build a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain.
My, oh my, what a shock! Gosh, I’m certainly surprised that the Iranians have lied to the incompetent IAEA and to the feckless UN. I’m astounded, just astounded, that President Obama’s broadcast greeting to the Iranian people, his private note to the Mullahs, and his mea culpas to the Islamic world haven’t worked. I, for one, expected the Iranians to cease and desist in the efforts to build and use nuclear weapons and to do so once President Obama—the anti-Bush—made nice with them. Why … it’s just unbelievable. Not.
An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily
captures our current strategy with Iran perfectly:
President Obama delivered numerous applause lines before the United Nations last week, like this one regarding nuclear proliferation: "Those nations that refuse to live up to their obligations must face consequences."
But what consequences? Only the most crippling of sanctions, like a concerted oil export and gasoline import embargo, would constitute real punishment for Iran, for instance.
And we're nowhere near getting that to happen.
Which leaves us with what might best be called Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Diplomacy. Dustin Hoffman, the divorcing dad in the movie "Kramer vs. Kramer," haplessly warns his bratty little boy again and again not to get the chocolate chip ice cream out of the freezer before finishing dinner.
"You take one bite out of that, you're in big trouble," the ever-more-ridiculous-looking father says. As the bite gets closer to the boy's lips, he says: "You put that ice cream in your mouth and you are in very, very, very big trouble. Don't you dare go anywhere beyond that. Put it down right now. I am not going to say it again."
That's us now. Neither Iran nor any other terror state has any reason to believe America's tough words have steel behind them.
And that’s at the core of the problem. President Obama, a man who supposedly analyzes changing situations and adapts accordingly, seems wedded to his non-confrontational approach to this Islamist regime. He remains committed to long-term negotiations, soft power, and, well, dare I say the word “appeasement.”
If we just offer the right collection of “incentives” and “sanctions,” the Mullahs will see the light. Never mind that any agreement will be abrogated, that other secret facilities will continue to operate, and that their rogue regime (you remember, the one the violently suppressed its own citizens less than two months ago) will not change its ways. Ultimately, further down the line, the world may pay a very heavy price, but for now, we can all play make-believe and think happy thoughts—the Iranians are only enriching Uranium inside a fortified mountain for medical purposes.
In fairness, President Obama does not have many good options – a consequence of our kicking the can down the road for the past 30 years. Had the Carter administration (another President who believed that long-term negotiations, soft power, and appeasement) taken a different tack when Iran committed an act of War when it seized our embassy and our diplomats, we might not be facing this problem today. But Carter, like Obama, talked and talked, and the first Iranian Mullah, Ayatollah Komeni, laughed. He knew weakness when he saw it, and he acted accordingly.
It is ironic that Barack Obama is now put in a position of addressing the festering problem that was precipitated by Carter’s irresponsible and naive behavior in 1979. Ralph Peters
describes Obama’s dilemma:
Ahmadinejad's boys know what they're doing. They've dispersed their nuclear program across urban areas and deep underground. The network is not only hard to hit -- it's impossible to strike effectively without inflicting thousands of civilian casualties.
These new sites raise the stakes higher still: Attack the plant near Qom and we'll be seen by Shia Muslims as violating a holy city. Strike those Tehran detonator factories and you get severe collateral damage -- plus the probable spread of radioactive material, an instant "dirty bomb."
Yet, after all this, there's still resistance in Washington to the conclusions that Iran's determined to develop nuclear weapons and then use them. What amount of evidence will it take?
Iran's faith-crazed president appears before the UN, denying the Holocaust and damning Israel. He has openly and repeatedly professed an apocalyptic religious vision that requires chaos on earth to bring about the return of the "hidden imam," the Shia version of a messiah. He never misses an opportunity to call for Israel's total destruction.
We’ll talk and talk some more. We’ll impose weak sanctions that will be violated within days of their implementation. And ultimately, Iran will have a weapon of mass destruction.
No worries. Just don’t eat any of that chocolate chip ice cream.Update (9/29/09):
As if to punctuate the complete idiocy of our chocolate chip ice cream diplomatic efforts, Iran yesterday launched two medium range missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons to Israel, Turkey, most of the Arab countries in the region, and parts of southwestern Europe. Then, adding whipped cream, the Iranian Parliament, this morning, is reported to have pompously declared that: (1) if they are "threatened" by the G5 they will escalate uranium enrichment efforts, and (2) they will decide when and whether the IAEA can inspect their illicit "new" nuclear enrichment facility.
Hmmm. I wonder whether President Obama will use his blinding brilliance to learn from this "teaching moment."