I-ran (and Stuck my Head in the Sand)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006 10:03 pm by cyclops

We have blogged here and here on the awful choices we face in dealing with Iran and the nuclear aspirations of its mullah leaders. In today’s Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer’s op-ed piece, entitled The Iran Charade, Part II, rightly mocks the feckless efforts of Britain, France and Germany to convince Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program:

This negotiating exercise, designed as an alternative to the U.S. approach of imposing sanctions on Iran for its violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, had proved entirely futile. If anything, the two-year hiatus gave Iran time to harden its nuclear facilities against bombardment, acquire new antiaircraft capacities and clandestinely advance its program.

With all this, the chancellor of Germany declared the exercise a success because the allies stuck together! The last such success was Dunkirk. Lots of solidarity there, too.

Most dismaying was that this assessment came from a genuinely good friend, the new German chancellor, who, unlike her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder (now a wholly owned Putin flunky working for Russia’s state-run oil monopoly), actually wants to do something about terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Ah, success. Instead of being years away from the point of no return for an Iranian bomb, as we were before we allowed Europe to divert anti-proliferation efforts into transparently useless talks, Iran is probably just months away. And now, of course, Iran is run by an even more radical government, led by a president who fervently believes in the imminence of the apocalypse.

Ah, success. Having delayed two years, we now have to deal with a set of fanatical Islamists who we know will not be deterred from pursuing nuclear weapons by any sanctions. Even if we could get real sanctions. Which we will not.

The article is disturbing because Krauthammer is a good prognosticator, and his prediction is that the US will engage the other permanent members of the UN Security Council in an attempt to establish firm sanction on Iran. In the end, Krauthammer believes,

The remaining months before Iran goes nuclear are about to be frittered away in pursuit of this newest placebo.

First, because Russia and China will threaten to veto any serious sanctions. The Chinese in particular have secured in Iran a source of oil and gas outside the American sphere to feed their growing economy and are quite happy geopolitically to support a rogue power that — like North Korea — threatens, distracts and diminishes the power of China’s chief global rival, the United States.

Second, because the Europeans have no appetite for real sanctions either. A travel ban on Iranian leaders would be a joke; they don’t travel anyway. A cutoff of investment and high-tech trade from Europe would be a minor irritant to a country of 70 million people with the second-largest oil reserves in the world and with oil at $60 a barrel. North Korea tolerated 2 million dead from starvation to get its nuclear weapons. Iran will tolerate a shortage of flat-screen TVs.

Yes, Krauthammer’s prediction is that Iran will go nuclear. I believe this as well. I don’t think that even the Bush Administration has the stomach to do what it will take to prevent this, though I believe we should prevent Iran from going nuclear whatever the cost.

Saying “I told you so” to Europe loses much of its joy after Hezbollah has just murdered a few hundred thousand people in an afternoon.

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