IRAN: THE FIVE SURPRISES
Surprise! Iran has been hiding a robust atomic bomb program for years.
Surprise! Our incoming president was briefed on it.
Surprise! The countries relying on Iranian oil are still afraid of rocking the boat.
Surprise! The new president is stalling.
Surprise! The ‘military option’ is back on the table.
Today’s LA times, among other media sources, has revealed what experts have already known. The Iranians are hell bent on enriching enough uranium to make several atomic bombs and they have a number of secret facilities scattered around the country that have been working around the clock to that end. LINK: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-ml-iran-nuclear-glance,0,4852448.story. See also: http://jta.org/news/article/2009/09/25/1008155/irans-nuclear-threat-once-again-takes-center-stage .
The Chinese and Russian economies depend on Iranian oil and gas products. Strong sanctions against Iran or military action will prompt retaliation and/or commercial interruptions in the Chinese and Russian special arrangements with this odious regime. And that will cause serious problems at home.
If we still had a robust economy, we could do what Eisenhower did in secret: Bribe them. But we can’t because: (a) we are in recession and (b) the federal government has pre-spent all the money. Surprise: The president is stalling.
This “new” information puts the lie to that infamous National Intelligence Estimate of 2007. [See my earlier analysis and that of others at these LINKS: http://jaygaskill.com/INTELLIGENCEASSESSMENT.htm . Also see: http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/09/about_that_2007_national_intel.asp .
In retrospect, the NEA’s release to major news agencies was a calculated attempt (mostly successful) by the Jim Baker cohort from the earlier Bush years to forestall the “Texas” Bush administration from “prematurely” taking on the Iran regime. This is why Vice President Cheney was sidelined during the last years of W’s tenure. In my opinion, Mr. Cheney’s reputation will grow in stature over the next tumultuous decade.
Why is the military option back on the table? President Obama needs the possibility of a big stick to cajole allies and to back Iran into a corner. Here’s the takeaway point: A bluff will not work with this regime any more than it would have worked with a thug named Saddam.
This is the new president’s Bay of Pigs moment. A young JFK thought mistakenly that he could nuance his way through a major nuclear confrontation, starting with half hearted support for an invasion of Cuba, followed by a humiliating abandonment of our friends and leading to a scary confrontation that brought the entire world closer to a WWW III hot nuclear exchange than ever before or since.
In a private conversation many years ago with someone close to JFK, I learned that the new president fully intended to resign after the Bay of Pigs fiasco only to be talked out of it.
When the military option that is now “just on the table” becomes the only option to a nuclear armed terrorist/thug regime in one of the most sensitive regions in the world, president Obama will have reached his moment in history. If I had one thing to tell this new president, it would be this:
Once the ruling clique in Iran obtains nuclear status for that country, no reform or moderate group in Iran will be able to dislodge them for decades, no power in the world will dare attack them, and no hope of retaliatory deterrence (that held the Soviets at Bay) would be credible because the martyr complex hard wired into militant Islam will tempt them into brazen adventurism. Whatever the blowback and other costs of an effective military response to this threat, the alternative, a rogue regime with nuclear bombs sitting in the middle of the world’s primary oil supply is far, far worse. No one can blame you for stalling, Mr. President, but the time has arrived to sharpen the contingency plans and prepare public opinion. Better to be a one term president who, in one gutsy act, saved us all from a true nightmare, than a temporarily popular one who nuanced us into hell.