The Nuke Whisperer

Yesterday’s Times Square bomb car incident perfectly frames this national security discussion — see the end of this piece….

The Nuke Whisperer

Why Iran Cannot Just Be ‘Deterred’ or ‘Sanctioned’

By Jay B Gaskill

“VIENNA — Iran is poised to make a significant leap in its ability to enrich uranium, with more sophisticated centrifuge technology that is being assembled in secret to advance the country’s nuclear efforts, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials and diplomats.

“Iran’s apparent gains in centrifuge technology have heightened concerns that the government is working clandestinely on a uranium-enrichment plant capable of

producing more nuclear fuel at a much faster pace, the officials said.

“U.N. nuclear monitors have not been allowed to examine the new centrifuge, which Iranian officials briefly put on display at a news conference last month. But an expert group’s analysis of the machine — based on photos — suggests that it could be up to five times as productive as the balky centrifuges Iran currently uses to enrich uranium.”

Washington Post, May 2

LINK:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/01/AR2010050101689.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Victor Davis Hanson:

“A nuclear Iran would be analogous to the lunatic homeowner with a huge personal arsenal who periodically threatens his neighbors with terrible retaliation should their leaves drift over his property — without necessarily intending to spray anyone with machine-gun fire. Who wishes to try to keep up property values, or even to live, in such a neighborhood?’

See his full piece — http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson043010.html

The Reality Check:

Iran will not be deterred from its nuclear goals by diplomatic threats or international sanctions. Its ruling clique intends for Iran to become the Middle East’s next nuclear power by any means necessary. Once Iran’s regime achieves the status of a nuclear weapons-endowed power, it cannot be reliably deterred from using that destructive capability against our friends and allies.

Moreover, the achievement of nuclear weapons capability will harden the domestic control of the ruling mullahs, setting back hope of regime liberalization for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, our president appears to have moved into a hostile relationship with our most stalwart democratic ally in the Middle East region (Israel).

Deeply naïve liberals (by contrast, Senator Joe Lieberman is a deeply realistic liberal) have softened the ground for a new, softer policy. Their ongoing legacy of toxic naiveté has infected the current Democratic Party leadership to the end that our new president might actually believe that diplomacy without teeth can produce results in the ground and that “Israel needs to be saved from herself” much in the same way his rhetoric suggests that America needs to be saved from its own history.

Behind this line of thinking lurks the delusion that all the world’s countries are run by elites whose decisions are determined by rational self interest calculations, and therefore can simply be reasoned with. The notion that all nations’ foreign policy and military ambitions calculations can be measured in terms of Dollars, Euros and Renminbi and Rial is the banker’s delusion. History is replete with examples of whole countries that enthusiastically spilled blood for overarching, non-economic goals. If nations always behaved like conservative bankers who all go to the same club, we would not have experienced the horrors of World War II, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and radical Islam would not be engaged in a suicidal jihad against the West.

Delusional naiveté has led this administration to the potentially disastrous miscalculation that the mullahs can be deterred by a nuclear balance of power.

This thinking also has the seductive quality of the “it’s no longer our worry” syndrome while ignoring the ripple consequences of our abandonment of close allies to the wolves: Aa destabilizing nuclear arms race ending, inevitably, in the retaliatory exchange of mushroom clouds and decimated cities, the destabilization of civilization itself, will follow.

Suppose we take away the element of fatal naiveté from all this. The simplest remaining theory that fits all the facts is chilling: POTUS actually prefers the reasonable and probable outcome of his polices, to wit: the elimination of “the Israel problem”, secretly “acceptable”. In this view, our new President would be revealed as one of those anti-Zionists for whom the prospect of Israel’s extinction (without American fingerprints) would not present any insurmountable moral difficulties.

In fact, this line of thinking is revealed a growing whisper campaign within the Beltway, a narrative that talks in code of countries like Israel and Taiwan as “strategic liabilities”

I choose not to parse this question too closely. Any “friend” so misguided as to enable your deadly enemy is functionally indistinguishable from the enemy itself, and has become allied with the forces that seek your extinction.

During the campaign, I proposed that Senator Obama was the chameleon candidate. That appears to be our best hope right now, because a chameleon can still change.

So… is our “nuancer-in-chief” just a naïve nuke-whisperer? I suspect that this will be seen in the unflinching, cold light of history as the kindest possible take on our new president’s evident vacillation on Iran and overt hostility to Israel. Yet results always affect historical narratives as if the outcome was known from the beginning by the players.

At some point, liberal caution becomes sympathy with the enemy, which soon mutates into tool of the enemy which – heavens forbid- becomes the enemy.

We are not there…yet. Mr. Obama has not yet lost the game.

I am persuaded that only military action in the form of concentrated, sustained air strikes against selected strategic targets in Iran will be sufficient, under the present circumstances, to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability within the next 10 to 18 months. Nothing short of that action will sufficiently degrade the regime’s bomb-making capabilities; and nothing short of that will to buy the necessary time for other solutions to emerge.

I still hope and pray that our new president will ultimately approve the grimly necessary actions in time, but I am deeply worried.

We must stop and reverse the spread of nuclear weapons in the world’s most volatile region or suffer a calamity of epic proportions. Yes, there will be blowback. But the alternative, the reliance on ineffective sanctions and charm, will fail. And that failure will ignite a chain of events, a regional nuclear arms race and the eventual use of those weapons, killing millions and poisoning the planet for generations.

For President Obama, this presents the single major legacy choice of his administration, the one that will define his presidency forever. History will not be kind to the leader whose hesitation and ultimate inaction helped auger in a new hell on earth.

I cannot think about this pivotal historic moment without recalling some lines from Yeats prophetic poem, “The Second Coming”:

“…Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

“…a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

…a shape…is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

[….]

What rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

William Butler Yeats

Yes, the “rough beast” is the specter of nuclear-armed radical Islam, the arrival of a new nightmare that will make the Cold War’s “tuck and cover” school drills and civil fallout shelters seem trivial by contrast.

The shocking car bomb incident in time Square (resolved serendipitously and locally by Manhattan cops) serves as a brilliant light, showing up the entire national security posture of this administration, like an X-Ray scan revealing the absence of a spine.

In a perfect world with perfect intelligence and a president with the tested toughness of, say, a Harry Truman, we could go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that there really is a stern Plan B (something that holdover Sec-Def Gates has publicly challenged[1]) and that our fanatical adversaries in Iran are on notice. Sadly, we have two untrained “political officers” in key national security positions (homeland security[2] and the CIA[3]) and the all too typical Rodney King mindset running Foggy Bottom.

The next step is up to our new, as yet untested president. Tick..tick…tick….

JBG

[1] See — http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1983216,00.html .

[2] Homeland Security Chief, J. Napolitano, a former governor, has no professional national security credentials.

[3] CIA head, L. Panetta, a former congressman and political staffer, has no national security or espionage credentials. His nomination was actually opposed by key democrats for CIA head until assurances were made that the brilliantly qualified Stephen Kappes would serve as Panetta’s number two. Mr. Kappes announced his resignation from the premier spy agency this April.

Leave a Reply