Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Bush Administration failure

Norman Podhoretz will have an extended essay in the next issue of Commentary explaining why the United States (or Israel) should take military action against Iran's nuclear power (read: weapon) industry. The whole thing is worth a read, and is not merely a reiteration of Podhoretz's earlier opus on why the US should, in the words of Senator McCain, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

The Monk would, however, draw your attention to three of the four footnotes to Podhoretz's essay. First, a flaw in the latest National Intelligence Estimate that The Monk cited too:

Among the principal authors of the new NIE, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal reported, were “three former State Department officials with previous reputations as ‘hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials,’ according to an intelligence source.” Even without knowing this, a careful reader of the new NIE summary could easily tell that it had been written by opponents of the military option who, moreover, were not so sure that Iran was all that dangerous.

Second, this fact is clear to anyone who is not predisposed toward excusing the Iranian government -- Iran uses negotiations with the West and/or the UN to distract attention from its nuclear weapons program:

. . . negotiation was merely a tactic used by Iran to buy time . . . As we learn from [Jeffrey T.] Richelson [author of Spying on the Bomb]: “Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani told his nation’s Supreme Cultural Revolution Council in September 2005 that Iran, in dealing with the IAEA, had agreed to suspend activities only in areas where it was not experiencing technical problems, and that the Isfahan uranium-conversion facility was completed while negotiating with the [European Union]. Rouhan informed the council that ‘while we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility. . . . [B]y creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work.’”

Third, the disastrous fallout from the NIE:

A typically conspiratorial . . . view, circulating through the Middle East, holds that Bush actually arranged for the new NIE, as a cover for capitulating to Iran. Evidently acting on this interpretation, the Sunni regimes (including Saudi Arabia and Egypt) that were expected by Condoleezza Rice to form a coalition against Shiite Iran once the U.S. got the “peace process” going between Israel and the Palestinians (hence the meeting she arranged at Annapolis) have instead been scrambling in various ways to come to terms with Tehran. As Gerald Steinberg of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs pointed out: “Within two weeks following publication of the NIE report, . . . Egypt moved to improve relations with Iran.” What was even more extraordinary, “Saudi Arabia welcomed Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Mecca.” The effects of the NIE were also manifest in China, which “signed a major contract on energy development and supply with Iran,” as well as in Russia, which, after stalling on a long-promised delivery, “quickly dispatched two shipments of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr nuclear reactor.”

Ultimately, without some military intervention, Bush's foreign policy will be a complete failure because he will have allowed Iran to obtain nuclear weapons capability despite eight years to stop Iran from obtaining the Bomb.

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