Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No More Diplomatic Solution to Iran.

I think we have finally reached a point where I feel there is no longer a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

I have written on here a number of times that I believe a nuclear armed Iran is a threat to U.S. interests and to the world. We must do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Fox News reports today that the United States has added new restrictions and sanctions on members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. This was in response to Iran's announcement that it has begun enriching a portion of its uranium to the 20% purity level. This level is high enough to be used in a nuclear weapon. Iran claims it wishes to create treatments for cancer patients in Iran.

Iran has used a stall and delay tactic for years now to continue to advance its nuclear program. The United Nations would make demands, Iran would ask for time to respond, or for clarification. The entire time, it continued down the path towards a nuclear weapon. At the same time, Iran has been developing longer and longer range missiles. President Obama has tried very hard to resolve this issue through diplomatic means. He has failed. President Bush tried to resolve Iran's nuclear quest by allowing the European Union to be the primary negotiators. That failed as well.

The toughest sanctions we could possibly use against Iran would be to target their gasoline imports. Iran has very little refinery capabilities, and has to import roughly 40% of its refined petroleum. However, Russia and China have stood in the way of this sanction for some time. Even with the announcement of Iran's increased enrichment a Reuters UK report says that Russia has "...sent its strongest signal yet on Tuesday that it could back a fourth set of U.N. sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme"{emphasis mine} and China is "determined to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons." However, in this same article, China is said to be nervous that talk of sanctions might harm the diplomatic process.

Iran has shown it has no desire to give up its nuclear quest through the typical diplomatic process. China and Russia continue to be roadblocks to the toughest sanctions against Iran. The world has tried the diplomatic solution, including, "... five U.N. Security Council resolutions -- and three sets of U.N. sanctions -- aimed at pressuring it to freeze enrichment, and [Iran] has instead steadily expanded its program." If our goal is to slow down, freeze, or remove Iran's nuclear program, we have failed under both a Democratic and a Republican administration. President Obama has been the picture of diplomacy with Iran. Iran responds to this open hand by seting new enrichment targets. At some point, we have to acknowledge our failures, and try something different. If we don't, Iran will get a nuclear weapon.


pack04 said...

I know this sarcastic comment has no place on such a serious topic for a blog but I just can't help myself.

I thought when we elected Mr. Obama president the whole world would start to like us and the axis of evil would fall in line and start doing as we wished.

I guess the sad thing is that people actually believed that...

the anonymous guy said...

Now that's a really surprising headline from you, Andy.

Kram said...

Pack04 - Gee, another broken promise, no surprise there! Of course, it will take time for the world to like us because GWB made them hate us so much.... yadda yadda yadda...

I'm more curious to see what Israels reaction will be. Though, I bet, they know so much more about the situation than we will ever know. I firmly believe if Iran was as close to nuclear weapons as they claim Israel would have done something militarily by now. Obviously, the useless UN can't stop Iran. What worries me is how little support I believe the Obama administration will provide to Israel if they are forced to take preventative action.

Andy D said...

Pack...I agree. Too many people believed what he said, and didn't look at his track record.

Kram...the only problem is that Israel can only take out Iran's nuclear sites with either a prolonged feet on the ground type war, or with specific weapons and "advisors" from the United States. No one believes Israel has the weapons needed to take out the hardened sites. That means for Israel to do something, we have to help in some fashion. It could be limited ("lend" the weapons and advisers)or more substantial(participate in a joint military operation).

As this goes on, there are news reports that the Iranian government has opened fire on protesters in the streets today.

Anonymous Guy...I haven't forgotten you. Can you show me any evidence that a diplomatic solution has a chance of being implemented, or working in Iran? You don't like the article, tell me where I go wrong.

the anonymous guy said...

The people of Iran are rising up and challenging their government. They will establish (in time, probably at some significant cost to them) a *credible* and authentic national government--something we cannot do for them, and that our bombs have not produced in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Why don't you war enthusiasts take this deal: wait until Afghanistan is the stable and safe democracy you all crowed about while the bombs were dropping. Then wait for Iraq to get there, too. *Then* (and only then) advocate for your next multi-trillion-dollar, bunker-busting, terrorist-inspiring, civilian killing, nation-destroying/building project.

This is just getting old.

pack04 said...

I must say even with his lack of civil war/reconstruction era history knowledge I sort of agree with anonymous guy. People can't sit around and bitch about spending too much money then start talking about starting a war, which is money. In the past I normally would have considered myself a war hawk. A book I am currently reading has made me reconsider certain parts of American history. This has changed my position as a war hawk.

I can't help but wonder if this is not a North Korea type thing. Scare the hell out of people to get money. I agree with anonymous guy, we cannot establish a government for other people. They have to do that themselves. We can aid them but we cannot do it. I will also ask anonymous guy to remember, in regaurd to the lenght of time we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US took 6 years from the end of the Treaty of Paris to the adoption of the US Constitution, it took us 12 years from the end of the civil war to put our country back together. We started out much closer to the end form of our government than Afghanistan and Iraq did. It will take a while. As for Iran. Lets wait and see what develops, invading a country to help the locals has not worked out well for us. They might be trying to goat us into starting something. The understand the politics of our country. Make us mad at ourselves and you can win. Lets not give them that option. Now, of course, the minute our of our civilians or military is killed by their aggressive action. Bring down the hammer. I know we have played wait and see for a long time and they keep pushing us but I am not a fan of starting a fight. I like finishing them.

Andy D said...

I'm not talking about going in and creating a new government. I'm talking about a limited military option that would only be focused on removing Iran's nuclear capability. No nation building, no long occupation. Destroy the nuclear sites, and get out.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy, that makes a lot of sense.

I'm sure that if China dropped bombs on us and then flew back home, that would help people in the U.S. want to abandon our weapons programs and cooperate with China. So it seems like a really clear, obvious strategy to help Iran move forward into a constructive relationship with the U.S.

The beauty is that we really don't have to think too much about the strategy or consequences--it's just so simple, even a child could have come up with it.

SutherlinGriff said...

Anonymous Guy,

You discount the fact that if the comparison you put forth were representative of the US-Iran situation, then China would have spent years in direct negotiations with the US on the subject of disarmament.

China would have spent years at the UN pleading for support in preventing us from developing a nuclear weapon. And the US would have threatened to wipe another country of the globe, and would have positioned itself as an agressor nation toward China. Oh, and the US would have lied time after time about their uranium enrichment programs.

To compare the US-Chineese relationship to the US-Iran relationship is, simple.

We are beyond the point of a constructive relationship with Iran. The US has reestablished constructive diplomatic relationsihps with major war enemies in the past.

Andy D said...

Griff makes a good point. Additionally, a military strike isn't about getting the Iranian government to change it's behavior, it's about removing the capability of the Iranian government to pursue that behavior.

the anonymous guy said...

OK. Try Cuba.

Or Iraq.

Or Chile.

Andy D said...

I think his point is still valid. The relationship between our country and almost any other country is unique. Additionally, Iran's history of violence against civilians and against other nations (not just our own) is also very different from those other nations. I don't advocate military action because I have something against Iran, or Iranians, but because I see a clear and present danger to the United States. The U.S. and the EU have both pursued a diplomatic solution and have failed. The UN has pursued a diplomatic solution and failed. I see nothing in the history of Iranian relations with the rest of the world to give me hope that some magical untried diplomatic solution will work. That leaves us with two options: A nuclear armed Iran, or military intervention in Iran. The first is unacceptable, so I believe it is time to pursue a military option. I would not argue for regime change or nation building. I would argue we should destroy Iran's nuclear abilities, and walk away.

Paul K. Fauteck said...

Iran is an ongoing threat to our only reliable ally in the Middle East, Israel. Israel, in turn, embarrasses its neighbors by its success as a democracy, and its success in technology, science, agriculture, and economics, and the Iranian president has called for the destruction of Israel. We cannot stand by while Iran prepares to launch a nuclear war against Israel. Regardless of one's political biases, using this as an opportunity to snipe at our president is shameful.

Andy D said...

Thanks for the comment Paul, and I hope you continue to chime in. I hope it was clear that I was being critical of both President Bush and President Obama in this post.

In case anyone needs more evidence that Iran is serious about a nuclear weapon, the New York Times ran an article detailing a new report by the IAEA. The UN group says:

The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declared for the first time on Thursday that they had extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead, an unusually strongly worded conclusion that seems certain to accelerate Iran’s confrontation with the United States and other Western countries.

Towards the middle of the article, they also mentioned...

The report also reiterated evidence that Iran appeared to have tested ways of detonating weapons and to have worked extensively to design warheads small enough to fit atop a missile.

Are we ready to acknowledge what Iran is planning yet?

the anonymous guy said...

Well history vindicates Andy's view. It's clear that we should have bombed Cuba during the missile crisis. That would have led to a much better outcome than we enjoy today.