Reaping What We Sow: Iran Perfects its Nuclear Program

 

In his first term, Obama pursued a minimalist response to Iran’s nuclear program and defended both the legitimacy of the brutally repressive Iranian regime and Iran’s “right” to “peaceful” nuclear technology. He gave Israel, which has the most to lose from a nuclear Iran, only tepid support. No matter how many times Iran refused to negotiate, backed out of negotiations, lied in negotiations … no matter how relentless Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons … Obama’s response was to offer yet more concessions and negotiations in exchange for Iran’s ever-elusive cooperation. 

 Astute observers wondered if Obama’s goal was simply to contain Iran’s nuclear program, rather than to stop it.

To Iran, our generous gestures only confirmed our cowardice and naivete. As the United States placed hope in engagement and half-hearted sanctions, Iran stepped up its nuclear program. History tells us that the pursuit of compromises with radical regimes is usually futile. We have to draw a distinction between fanatical regimes and authoritarian ones. From Hitler to Mao to Ahmadinejad, extremist leaders use our diplomatic approach to buy time, develop weapons, and deflect attention away from atrocities. Exposing the cruel reality of their regimes, not enabling them in any way, and reminding them of the unwavering power mounted against them is, unfortunately, our best option.

Some ask why Iran doesn’t have the same right to nuclear weapons as us, or as others such as Israel and India. The answer is simple. Israel and India don’t define us as a mortal enemy. They haven’t sponsored and trained terrorists to target and kill Americans. They don’t support some of the world’s worst terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. They don’t align with the world’s other hostile regimes.  Nuclear capability would allow Iran to become a viable threat. Worse, it would allow terrorists access to nuclear weapons to use against us.

Our circumspection regarding Iran’s regime type and weapons program has done absolutely no good.  Iranian intransigence and  Iranian human rights violations have only gotten worse.  

In November, the IAEA reported that Iran had accelerated the pace of nuclear enrichment, and was significantly closer to nuclear bomb capability. Now comes a frightening report entitled Revealed! Evidence Iran Crossed Nuclear “Red Line’  by Reza Kahlili, inspiring author of A Time to Betray. Citing a source in Iran’s Ministry of Defense, Kahlili reveals:

Iranian scientists are working on nuclear warheads – and trying to perfect them – at an underground site …The most significant information provided by the source is that the regime has succeeded in not only enriching to weapons grade but has converted the highly enriched uranium into metal. … Moreover, the source said, successfully using the metal in making a neutron reflector indicates the final stages for a nuclear weapons design that would be a two-stage, more sophisticated and much more powerful nuclear bomb. … Regime scientists are also working on a plutonium bomb as a second path to becoming nuclear-armed, the source said, and they have at this site 24 kilograms of plutonium, which is sufficient for several atomic bombs. … Iranian scientists, aided by North Koreans, are also working on new ways to have more miniaturized and more powerful atomic bombs, he said.

I urge you to read Kahlili’s report. Then consider the following. This happened under watch of an administration that never admitted to seeking only to contain Iran’s nuclear program. But, our new Secretary of Defense Hagel sees nothing wrong with this modest goal. He is on record stating his opposition to unilateral sanctions and his willingness to work on containing a nuclear Iran.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ScarletPimpernel

    Bush was doing roughly the same thing.  The reason why they worked so hard to bloody our noses in Iraq was to make it that much more difficult to stop them. The tactic worked.

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    @AnneRPierce
    Scarlet Pimpernel: Bush was doing roughly the same thing.  The reason why they worked so hard to bloody our noses in Iraq was to make it that much more difficult to stop them. The tactic worked. · 13 minutes ago

    The Bush administration tried both firm sanctions (with isolation of the regime) and engagement. Neither worked, but sanctions and isolation worked better than engagement. The Bush administration failed to realize what an opportunity instability in Iraq would be for Iran. But, the Bush administration did not weaken our national security structure and weaken our defense posture like the Obama admin. The Bush administration did speak up for human rights in Iran, unlike the Obama admin. which disbanded Voice of America type programs and showed utter indifference to the fate of the Iranian people. Overall, I see the approaches as quite different.

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    @ShaneMcGuire

    I remembrer driving to a class one afternoon when I was in law school, I think this was in 2003 or 2004, and Rush was on the radio discussing some pronouncement that “Iran is 10 years away from having a nuclear weapon.” Whoever the quote was from, was using that 10-year window to say that there’s really nothing to worry about, and Rush made an astute observation, to paraphrase: I’m planning on still being here 10 years from now, and I’m pretty sure Iran is still going to be run by the same crazy people they have now—how does this 10 year window mean we don’t have to do anything?

    Indeed.

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  4. Profile Photo Member
    @DrewInWisconsin
    Anne R. Pierce:

     Astute observers wondered if Obama’s goal was simply to contain Iran’s nuclear program, rather than to stop it.

    Oh, I just figured he wanted them to have nukes . . . for “fairness.”

    • #4
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    @ScarletPimpernel

    All true, but beside the point. The Bush administration was not prepared to do what was necessary to keep Iran from getting the bomb, and Iran knew it.  They were on the road to containment, too.

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    @jetstream

    I wonder if some of the dim bulbs in the MSM have begun to generate enough current to recognize that the first nuclear detonations in the U.S. will be where they live, D.C. and NYC.  The irony will be complete when liberals and progressives, who hysterically opposed Reagan’s Star Wars, suddenly begin to hysterically demand an instant and perfect Star Wars capability.

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    @AnneRPierce
    jetstream: I wonder if some of the dim bulbs in the MSM have begun to generate enough current to recognize that the first nuclear detonations in the U.S. will be where they live, D.C. and NYC.  The irony will be complete when liberals and progressives, who hysterically opposed Reagan’s Star Wars, suddenly begin to hysterically demand an instant and perfect Star Wars capability. · 1 minute ago

    Yup, and it’s fascinating that Missile Defense is suddenly an acceptable defense to North Korea’s provocations, about which I’ll post in the next couple weeks. 
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  8. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @ctlaw

    You don’t have to go that far.

    Because of their nuclear programs, under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Israel, Pakistan, and India are generally denied access to nuclear technology by the civilized world.

    Iran is a member of the NPT and has agreed not to develop nuclear weapons. It is in breach. End of story.

    Anne R. Pierce: Some ask why Iran doesn’t have the same right to nuclear weapons as us, or as others such as Israel and India.

    • #8
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    @PaulARahe

    Anne, in the last few weeks, I have found myself wondering whether Obama was not going to launch a strike against Iran. What I have in mind is this. He is now dead in the water. He wants higher taxes; he wants to cut nothing in the way of entitlements; and he is not going to get what he wants — unless he leads us into war . . . which might open the floodgates.

    Like you, I favor our acting to prevent Iran from going nuclear. I suspect that Obama might do the right thing for all the wrong reasons.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @AnneRPierce
    Paul A. Rahe: Anne, in the last few weeks, I have found myself wondering whether Obama was not going to launch a strike against Iran. What I have in mind is this. He is now dead in the water. He wants higher taxes; he wants to cut nothing in the way of entitlements; and he is not going to get what he wants — unless he leads us into war . . . which might open the floodgates.

    Like you, I favor our acting to prevent Iran from going nuclear. I suspect that Obama might do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. · 11 minutes ago

    Ugh. Every scenario is depressing at this point.

    • #10
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    @flownover

    Pakistan is a nuclear power and a host to the Taliban, the results ?

    We could stop this with a simple strike on their oil tanker loading facility at Kharg Island , stopping 85% of their income and then stopping their importing gasoline ( #2 consumer importer in the world). Everything dries then. 

    Hardened production facilities are hard to crack, why bother with that and the collateral damage. 

    There are some crummy reasons why the POTUS won’t face up to this. He must feel some debt to the Iran, birthplace of his chief advisor.

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    @FricosisGuy

    Prof. Rahe: Makes sense. That’s what happened under Bush 43. I assume Obama will execute even more expansively.

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    @PaulARahe
    Fricosis Guy: Prof. Rahe: Makes sense. That’s what happened under Bush 43. I assume Obama will execute even more expansively. · 2 minutes ago

    I think that you underestimate Bush 43. He believed that what he did was the right thing to do — and the proof is his willingness, after 2006, to go to the wall in support of his original objective. I could fault him for a lack of prudence. He put men in charge of executing his policy on the ground who did not believe in it. I would not attribute to him corrupt intentions. He was a decent man in over his head. What we have now is an indecent man with no scruples whatsoever about doing whatever is necessary to get his way.

    • #13
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    @DavidWilliamson

    The Supreme Leader (the Iranian one, that is) has said that Haifa and Tel Aviv will be destroyed if Iran is attacked, so maybe we are already past the point of no return?

    As Michael Ledeen has been pointing out for years, the only real option is to encourage Regime Change in Iran. That ain’t gonna happen without Regime Change in the US, and the electorate has just said no to that.

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    @FricosisGuy

    Prof. Rahe: I’m OK with the Bush 43 war call. I wasn’t OK with the new entitlement and spending spree that followed. An Obama war will make that logrolling look like a collection during a weekday service.

    • #15
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    @ctlaw

    Generally agreed, but I would say Saddam had more to gain by his attack on israel rather than less to lose.

    He was looking to distract the arab countries. Note that he still knew he had a lot to lose as is evidenced by the likely removal of chemical warheads from his Scuds and their replacement with concrete blocks.

    If he was in nothing to lose mode he would have left the chemical warheads on.

    This, all the more evidences his rational self-preservation actions.

    Zafar: Anne – I agree that Saddam was a bad man with evil goals (like a lot of dictators), but that doesn’t mean that he was irrational.  He was quite rational (despite some bad judgement re Kuwait) in the way he pursued power – he was just completely lacking in morality.

    We’ve spoken before about how even evil regimes can curb themselves if they feel they have something to lose – ie due to fear.  Saddam didn’t suddenly become more evil when he attacked Israel, he just had less to lose.

     

     

     

     

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    @Zafar

    I am not a fan of Iran getting nukes (though I also doubt they would *use* nukes – imho they would be a deterrent to ‘regime change a la Iraq’).  But countries do not get the ‘right to nuclear weapons’ because of what is good/not good for the US.  That confuses ‘right’ with ‘might’.

    Anne R. Pierce:

    Some ask why Iran doesn’t have the same right to nuclear weapons as us, or as others such as Israel and India. The answer is simple. Israel and India don’t define us a mortal enemy. They haven’t sponsored and trained terrorists to target and kill Americans. They don’t support some of the world’s worst terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. They don’t align with the world’s other hostile regimes.  

    You cite terrible things that rogue states do (support terrorism, target [civilian?] Americans, align with hostile [to whom?] regimes.  All arguably true assessments.

    But which is the only country that has killed civilians with nuclear weapons?  Was it North Korea?  Was it Pakistan?

    It is totally reasonable to want to stay top dog, but dressing it up in morality (rights) doesn’t always wash. 

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NickStuart
    Zafar:

    But which is the only country that has killed civilians with nuclear weapons?  Was it North Korea?  Was it Pakistan?

    Appallingly ignorant BS.

    If there hadn’t been a Pearl Harbor, there wouldn’t have been a Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The Japanese had it coming, I suspect the Chinese and Koreans would agree.

    Horrible as it was, it pales in comparison with the fire-bombing of Tokyo (and Dresden, and Hamburg); and was the fastest, most humane way to end the war.

    Paul Fussell’s “Thank God For The Atom Bomb” should be required reading.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NickStuart
    Anne R. Pierce

    Paul A. Rahe: Anne, in the last few weeks, I have found myself wondering whether Obama was not going to launch a strike against Iran. … he is not going to get what he wants — unless he leads us into war . . . which might open the floodgates.

    Like you, I favor our acting to prevent Iran from going nuclear. I suspect that Obama might do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. · 11 minutes ago

    Ugh. Every scenario is depressing at this point. · 2 hours ago

    Bet you a lunch next time you’re in Chicago that Obama will do nothing more than his trademark move:  “mouth music.”

    It would require him to make a hard decision, and do some heavy lifting.

    It would expose him to anti-war protestors chanting “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, PBO has got to go!” or some such. Better to just run out the clock and retreat to a redoubt in Hawaii where he will have a good a chance to ride out the apocalypse as anywhere.

    • #19
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    @FrozenChosen

    I would put the chances of Israel launching an attack on Iran in the next 3 years at 80-90%.  There is no way they can let Iran get the bomb.

    Will they be successful?  Who knows?  But they will surely try.

    No way Obama and his team of pro-Palestinian guys like Kerry and Hagel will attack Iran.

    One more chilling question – will an Israeli attack be the start of Armageddon?

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FrozenChosen
    Zafar: I am not a fan of Iran getting nukes (though I also doubt they would *use* nukes – imho they would be a deterrent to ‘regime change a la Iraq’).  But countries do not get the ‘right to nuclear weapons’ because of what is good/not good for the US.  That confuses ‘right’ with ‘might’.

    You cite terrible things that rogue states do (support terrorism, target [civilian?] Americans, align with hostile [to whom?] regimes.  All arguably true assessments.

    But which is the only country that has killed civilians with nuclear weapons?  Was it North Korea?  Was it Pakistan?

    It is totally reasonable to want to stay top dog, but dressing it up in morality (rights) doesn’t always wash.  · 30 minutes ago

    Zafar, I see that you and our president share the same worldview.

    Must be hard to live in a world without good guys…

    • #21
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    @Devereaux

    I would submit that one can’t restrict knowledge; sooner or later it leaks out. What one CAN do is place “responsibilities” to go along with that knowledge, but when such are imposed, it is imperative that one be willing to then follow through with necessary responses.Iran will have a bomb – if it chooses to have one. What may keep Iran from using it would be an ironclad statement that if ANY nuclear device goes off in or near Israel, Iran will be turned into a smoking expanse. No questions, no decisions who did it – the famous John Wayne/ Richard Boone exchange – “Your fault, my fault, no one’s fault.”So I would agree Iran is not irrational; it just has no significant consequences to building a bomb. America has not shown any signs of the kind of unwavering strength and commitment to enforce such a promise – whether it be to destroy the facilities, Iran’s money making ability, it’s lifeblood (oil terminal). We are simply unwilling to go to war, and that attitude is akin to England’s facing Hitler in his early days.Dr. Rahe poses a different kind of scenario – that of a national leader in trouble at home politically, who then starts an external war of some kind to rally internal strength (Argentina vs. Falklands, among many examples). Interesting thought, but I don’t think BO has the stones for it.

    • #22
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    @AnneRPierce
    anonymous

    Anne R. Pierce:

    Kahlili reveals:

    Moreover, the source said, successfullyusing the metal inmaking a neutron reflector indicates the final stages for a nuclear weapons design that would be a two-stage, more sophisticated and much more powerful nuclear bomb.

    The link in the main article is to a search of the WND site which does not (at least for me) return the article cited.  Here is a direct link to the article.

    The sentence from the article quoted above doesn’t make a lot of sense.  The italicised words do not appear in the currently posted version of the article, possibly indicating a correction.  Using a neutron reflector in a fission bomb always makes sense since it reduces the amount of fissile material you need to obtain a given yield. ….

    But using a reflector does not imply you have the technology for a two-stage bomb. · 2 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

    Thanks. I’ll take a look at all of the above. The perils of haste!

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Inactive
    @AnneRPierce
    David Williamson: The Supreme Leader (the Iranian one, that is) has said that Haifa and Tel Aviv will be destroyed if Iran is attacked, so maybe we are already past the point of no return?

    As Michael Ledeen has been pointing out for years, the only real option is to encourage Regime Change in Iran. That ain’t gonna happen without Regime Change in the US, and the electorate has just said no to that. · 2 hours ago

    Michael Ledeen is one of the few who recognizes that regime type and regime behavior are invariably connected.  We have an administration that tries to ignore ideology and ideas for the sake of a one-world order, but the twentieth century is the story of fanatical regimes pursuing their murderous ends fanatically.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Inactive
    @AnneRPierce
    Frozen Chosen: I would put the chances of Israel launching an attack on Iran in the next 3 years at 80-90%.  There is no way they can let Iran get the bomb.

    Will they be successful?  Who knows?  But they will surely try.

    No way Obama and his team of pro-Palestinian guys like Kerry and Hagel will attack Iran.

    One more chilling question – will an Israeli attack be the start of Armageddon? · 28 minutes ago

    Given that the whole world is against Israel already, what do you see as the costs to Israel in such a move?  What are the cost to benefits calculations in Israel right now? I know it’s a matter of survival, but how can they survive with any more isolation/animosity than is already coming their way?

    • #25
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    @Zafar

    Well sure, everybody has a reason for what they do as well as a justification.  

    Nick Stuart

    If there hadn’t been a Pearl Harbor, there wouldn’t have been a Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The Japanese had it coming, I suspect the Chinese and Koreans would agree.Appallingly ignorant BS.

    Horrible as it was, it pales in comparison with the fire-bombing of Tokyo (and Dresden, and Hamburg); and was the fastest, most humane way to end the war.

    While winning and minimising Allied losses.  Yes.

    Completely understandable – these are choices I would probably make too – but I’m not sure that it’s a decision that occupies the moral high ground wrt killing civilians and resulting ‘rights’ to certain weapons and technology.

    • #26
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    @Zafar

    No, it’s fine : – )

    Frozen Chosen

    Zafar, I see that you and our president share the same worldview.

    Must be hard to live in a world without good guys… · 42 minutes ago

    In the long run I think it beats living in a fantasy.

    • #27
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    @Zafar

    *Most* of the world – the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, India, China – is just fine with Israel right now.  If you look at things like diplomatic relations and trade.

    Anne R. Pierce

    Given that the whole world is against Israel already, what do you see as the costs to Israel in such a move?  What are the cost to benefits calculations in Israel right now? I know it’s a matter of survival, but how can they survive with any more isolation/animosity than is already coming there way? · 13 minutes ago

    That’s a lot of tacit acceptance and support to jeopardise by bombing a country that will rant and rave but will realistically never bomb you unless pushed to the absolute brink.

    (When did Saddam send missiles against Israel?  When he was rubbing along okay with the Western powers, or when he was made a pariah?)

    • #28
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    @AnneRPierce
    Zafar: *Most* of the world – the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, India, China – is just fine with Israel right now.  If you look at things like diplomatic relations and trade.

    That’s a lot of tacit acceptance and support to jeopardise by bombing a country that will rant and rave but will realistically never bomb you unless pushed to the absolute brink.

    (When did Saddam send missiles against Israel?  When he was rubbing along okay with the Western powers, or when he was made a pariah?) · 6 minutes ago

    Zafar, I cannot agree with you that Saddam was a “rational actor” as today’s academics like to say when they excuse murderous tyrants by claiming they were merely rationally responding to some western insult or another.  Saddam had some of the world’s worst torture chambers – ever, and used them prolifically. He used chemical weapons on the Kurds.  He shot his own soldiers in the back when they returned from the hopeless war against Iran. He tried to have the first President Bush assassinated. He invaded Kuwait with the goal of conquest and domination.

    • #29
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    @AnneRPierce

    I don’t agree with the rational actor theory of politics, when it comes to Saddam or to other extremists. Let’s not assume the world is a Platonic republic where reason reigns, nor that we’re in a Mills sort of world where everyone acts according to their happiness or interest.

    The twentieth century constituted  “the eclipse of reason” and the rise of irrational, extremist ideologies, which got an irrational hold on the “masses” through propaganda and charismatic, demagogic leaders.  Hitler made shrewd calculations about how to consolidate power, yes, but, he also got away with fanaticism and recklessness because the western world initially gave him the benefit of the doubt. The thought of Hitler facing a clearly lost war, holed up in his bunker, ordering eleven year olds to the battlefield and ordering anyone who didn’t continue to fight shot is not one of a rational actor.

    Saddam was reckless and ruthless, even though he too made shrewd calculations. Many of his decisions were irrational even by a personal gain standard.

    The Iranian mullahs and their henchmen are not “rational actors. They are unpredictable and fanatical.  They are also apocalyptic, as are suicide-terrorists.

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