Tuesday, November 06, 2007

John Bolton: Uncommon Common Sense On Iran

Ex US Ambasador John Bolton has a major problem; he speaks plainly and logically about world affairs without sparing the truth,which tends to bother certain people.

Here, he lays out the situation with Iran in exactly that fashion, summarizing how we got we we are and what we need to do about it:

"Senior officials of the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany met last Friday in London to discuss Iran's nuclear-weapons program. Once again, they failed to agree on meaningful sanctions against Iran, leaving the mullahs free to pursue their deadly policy.

This pattern of failed diplomacy has gone on for over four years, starting with the efforts of Britain, France and Germany ("the EU-3") to talk Iran out of its pursuit of nuclear weapons. In 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell acquiesced in this effort, even though it undercut our strategy to condemn Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and then take the matter to the Security Council. There, we expected to obtain effective economic sanctions against Iran quickly, or else find out equally quickly that the council was a dead end, and then move on to other alternatives.

In 2005, things got worse when Secretary Condoleezza Rice agreed that the United States would negotiate directly with Iran if it ceased its uranium-enrichment activities. She agreed to this approach to mollify the EU-3 - who were blaming us for the failure of their negotiations - even though she herself had correctly labeled Iran "the world's central banker for terrorism."

Unfortunately, the EU-3's fascination with negotiations lost sight of the ultimate objective - preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons - and became an end in itself. For the EU-3, the process became more important than the substance, especially the unstated but obvious EU-3 agenda of dealing with a proliferation threat their way, rather than resorting to military force, as the United States did against Saddam Hussein.

The result of more than four years of EU-3 negotiation is that Iran is more than four years closer to a nuclear-weapons capacity, and the United States and the world are in greater danger. I believe it was obvious from the outset that Iran wasn't going to renounce its quest for nuclear weapons voluntarily because it was part of a much larger strategy. The stakes were and are high: whether Iran and its radical Shiite version of Islam become dominant throughout the Muslim world, whether largely Persian Iran achieves effective hegemony in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East and whether a nuclear, terror-financing Iran emerges on the global stage as a real power.

Chitchat by complacent and languorous European and State Department negotiators isn't enough to divert a theocratic autocracy like Iran's from its long-standing strategic course. To the contrary, the years of failed diplomacy gave Iran something it couldn't have bought with all of its oil revenues: time. Time is usually on the side of the would-be proliferators, and that has been true in spades for Iran. While the EU-3 thought they were "negotiating," Iran was perfecting the critical technique of converting uranium from a solid to a gas and then mastering the uranium-enrichment process to produce weapons-grade uranium. The timing on actual weaponization is now essentially in the hands of the mullahs. With oil at $90 a barrel, resources aren't a problem.

Thus, as a consequence of heedless, failed diplomacy, our options on Iran are limited, unless, as some believe, we can live with a nuclear Iran...."

Read the rest here

No comments: