Thursday, April 12, 2007

It’s Good to be Ahmadinejad

If your name is Ahmadinejad, you have had a very good couple of weeks. First, Iran captured 15 British Sailors and Soldiers. While many in the West followed the plight of these 15, very few seriously condemned the action, and no one really expressed any resolve to do anything about it. Then on Monday, President Ahmadinejad announced to the world that Iran now has 3,000 centrifuges and can push its nuclear energy program even further. And again, with only minor exception, very few in the media or in positions of power seem to have taken much notice.

I would speculate that Iran was trying to see what the West and the rest of the world would do if they captured a few Western sailors. Iran found that the west would do nothing, and they gained an extra PR advantage in the Middle East with the assorted confessions and PR video released to the world. While the West had a few (and I emphasize few) strong words, there was never any threat that the Western response would go past a few words.

Fresh from that success, President Ahmadinejad gave the world, the UN, and anyone not studying Don Imus the collective finger. The Iranian President revealed to the world that Iran has no intension of suspending its uranium enrichment program. The UN had previously given Iran 60 days to stop its program or face tougher sanctions. Since Iran has ignored the last three similar warnings from the UN, no one should have been surprised when they ignored the UN yet again. However, President Ahmadinejad raised the stakes by claiming to have 3,000 centrifuges now operating. This number caught most experts off guard. While Russia and a few others have expressed disbelief at this number, the implications are very ominous if Iran is telling the truth. With 3,000 centrifuges, Iran could be anywhere from 1 to 3 years away from producing 1 to 2 nuclear weapons a year. Personally, I believe we should take our enemies at their word. If they say they have no intention of complying with the UN, and are in fact increasing their production, we should take them at their word. The West should assume at this point that Iran will not stop until it has a usable nuclear weapon. However, most in the media seem to be more distraught over “racially insensitive” comments by Imus.

The West must focus on the important thing and decide what to do with Iran. There are really only two possible outcomes, the West accepts a nuclear Iran, or the West prevents Iran (and by extension Hezbollah, Hamas, and maybe Syria) from getting a nuclear weapon. No matter what the rhetoric, to date both the West and the UN seem willing to grudgingly accept a nuclear Iran. While we have said this is unacceptable, we really haven’t done anything to prevent it from happening.

The second case is the much more difficult one, but the one we really should be following. It would be a terrible thing for the entire world if Iran was able to get a nuclear weapon. Iran has said it would use a nuke in Israel. Iran is accused of helping our enemies in Iraq. Iran has definitely been a huge backer of Hezbollah. I would argue that Iran has been at war with the US since the Islamic revolution and capture of American hostages in the 1970’s. Because of that, Iran represents a terrible threat to the West, to Israel, and to the US.

It is time for the West to wake up and realize that maybe we should take our enemies at thier word. Hitler promised to eliminate the Jews and no one took him at his word. Are we ready to repeat the same mistake?

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