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Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Little Bit About Iran

Obviously, everyone heard that this earlier this week, Iran had announced to the world that they had succeeded in enriching uranium. That’s making Kid Various all kinds of happy. Oh yeah.

Basically, there’s no doubt that Iran is rushing full bore to create nuclear weapons. They don’t even attempt to hide it anymore. Now the argument is all about, as Kid Various has predicted, how *close* Iran is getting to a nuclear weapon. The back-tracking by the MSM has already begun. See this little ditty by the NYT on how Iran is really *decades* away from getting the bomb.

Just like North Korea. Just like Pakistan.

The hoo hah in the USA nowadays seems to be whether or not we are going to attack Iran to prevent them from becoming a nuclear weapon state. The Kid’s only response is “If only…”

The sad fact is that we do not currently have the capability to force regime change and build a democracy in Iran. Basically because we have a 10 division army for a 14 division global commitment. One of the great strategic errors of the Bush Administration has been the failure to grow the military in response to our heightened commitments during the Long War. (The Kid believes in Rumsfeldian military “transformation” but that’s fighting the next war, not the war we’re involved in now.)

At present, any attack on Iran will bring forth really bad consequences. Given the lack of excess capacity in global production, the price of oil will indeed skyrocket. Iran may even be able to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Terrorism will be kicked into high gear with terrorist strikes in major European and possibly American cities. Worst, the Iranians will almost certainly twist the knife in our sides in Iraq. Make no mistake, they control large portions of the southern part of the country. All our fragile progress there will be at risk.

That said, as highlighted in these articles, we have no good options. Only really bad, and really friggin’ worse. An Iran armed with nuclear weapons is really friggin’ worse.


William Kristol explores whether we have the *guts* to stand up and carry out our responsibilities in the world. Readers note, that Kid Various has his doubts.

The strategist Eliot Cohen was correct when he told the New York Times last week, "I don't get a sense that people in the administration are champing at the bit to launch another war in the Persian Gulf." They're not. No one is. But it is also the case that a great nation has to be serious about its responsibilities, even if executing other responsibilities has been more difficult than one would have hoped.

The Fateful Hour Has Arrived

Caroline Glick also tackles the big question, whether we, in America, are the leaders of the Free World or are we civilization’s undertaker? Her recitation of America’s activities so far, do not leave so much room for hope.

After the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush was revered by Americans and lovers of liberty around the world. His soaring rhetoric and stated determination to fight for all that is good and sacred in this world won the hearts of millions and instilled in them the hope that the great battle for civilization had been joined by a force capable of defending it.

America is the greatest nation on Earth and it does have the ability to defend the world against regimes like Iran and its allies. It can prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It can take those weapons out of North Korea's hands. It can bring Damascus to its knees and force it to cough up Iraq's arsenal of pathogens. And no, military might is not the only way for it to accomplish these tasks.

But America cannot, and it will not accomplish any of these goals if it continues to abide by strategies and frameworks that serve only to strengthen its enemies and permit its "allies" to behave perfidiously. It cannot and will not defend the world from evil, demonic regimes like Iran's if it continues to allow the likes of the EU, Russia, Egypt and China to undercut its will at every turn.

This week Teheran threw down the gauntlet. The greatest battle of this war - the battle to prevent the world's most dangerous regime from attaining the most dangerous weapons known to man - has begun. The moment has arrived for President George W. Bush to make clear if he is, in the final analysis, the leader of the free world or its undertaker.

Target: Iran

Former Lt. General Thomas McInerney claims that there *is* an available airstrike option that would at least set back Iraninan nuclear capabilities for 5 years and perhaps spur an overthrow of the regime. The Kid is doubtful. It sounds too rosy. However, there is no doubt that airstrikes could at least delay Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Interesting to not in the article, he mentions new 28,000 pound bunker busters. That’s probably like a 20kt yield which is small nuclear weapon category. Kid Various is whole heartedly for creating nuclear scale – nonnuclear weapons. The distinction between a 20kt nuclear weapon and a 20kt conventional weapon is wholly political. We need to get off nukes because a 20kt nuke is not usable while a 20kt conventional bomb is.

A MILITARY OPTION AGAINST Iran's nuclear facilities is feasible. A diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis is preferable, but without a credible military option and the will to implement it, diplomacy will not succeed. The announcement of uranium enrichment last week by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shows Iran will not bow easily to diplomatic pressure. The existence of a military option may be the only means of persuading Iran--the world's leading sponsor of terrorism--to back down from producing nuclear weapons.

Facing Down Iran

Finally, a must read is Mark Steyn’s essay this week in The City Journal. How Steyn, who has no foreign policy background, can cut through the slop and identify the key issues at stake, and do so while being so seemingly effortlessly humourous, is beyond the Kid. He wishes he could write like that.

If Belgium becomes a nuclear power, the Dutch have no reason to believe it would be a factor in, say, negotiations over a joint highway project. But Iran’s nukes will be a factor in everything. If you think, for example, the European Union and others have been fairly craven over those Danish cartoons, imagine what they’d be like if a nuclear Tehran had demanded a formal apology, a suitable punishment for the newspaper, and blasphemy laws specifically outlawing representations of the Prophet. Iran with nukes will be a suicide bomber with a radioactive waist.

For this to be a mortal struggle, as the cold war was, the question is: Are they a credible enemy to us?

For a projection of the likely outcome, the question is: Are we a credible enemy to them?

Four years into the “war on terror,” the Bush administration has begun promoting a new formulation: “the long war.” Not a reassuring name. In a short war, put your money on tanks and bombs—our strengths. In a long war, the better bet is will and manpower—their strengths, and our great weakness. Even a loser can win when he’s up against a defeatist. A big chunk of Western civilization, consciously or otherwise, has given the impression that it’s dying to surrender to somebody, anybody. Reasonably enough, Islam figures: Hey, why not us? If you add to the advantages of will and manpower a nuclear capability, the odds shift dramatically.

What’s the difference between a hothead and a moderate? Well, the extremist Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” while the moderate Rafsanjani has declared that Israel is “the most hideous occurrence in history,” which the Muslim world “will vomit out from its midst” in one blast, because “a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel, while an Israeli counter-strike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.” Evidently wiping Israel off the map seems to be one of those rare points of bipartisan consensus in Tehran, the Iranian equivalent of a prescription drug plan for seniors: we’re just arguing over the details.

So the question is: Will they do it?

And the minute you have to ask, you know the answer. If, say, Norway or Ireland acquired nuclear weapons, we might regret the “proliferation,” but we wouldn’t have to contemplate mushroom clouds over neighboring states. In that sense, the civilized world has already lost: to enter into negotiations with a jurisdiction headed by a Holocaust-denying millenarian nut job is, in itself, an act of profound weakness—the first concession, regardless of what weaselly settlement might eventually emerge.


At Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 11:22:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Jim - PRS said...

Very dismal picture, indeed.

I figure, at most, Iran will get to use one nuke, then all bets are off, and things could get really ugly.


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