Monday, August 15, 2005

Another War?

Even though support for the war in Iraq is dropping on a daily basis and the once unthinkable idea of pulling out our troops at once is gaining some credibility, some in this nation are apparently considering another armed action, this time in Iran.

Over the weekend, the President spoke to an Israeli news outlet and said that all options, including the military option, were still on the table with respect to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. This not so subtle sabre rattling comes as various European nations are engaging Iran in serious diplomatic efforts on the issue.

Iran, of course, keeps insisting that it is not interested in developing nuclear weapons. It does want, however, to use nuclear technology for power. Given Iran's oil and natural gas reserves, and given its continuing hostility to the west (primarily the US), most people, including the EU aren't buying the Iranian argument. Still, the EU believes (as do I), that diplomatic negotiations are a far better way to handle the problem than war.

A reliable gauge of this administration's intentions are usually discernable by watching the Sunday talk shows, and this week was no exception. Senator John McCain hit the talk show trail and on Fox News Sunday provided the following:

WALLACE: I want to switch to another subject: Iran.

The president, in an interview on Israeli television, says that if Iran refuses to end its nuclear program, that all options, including the military option, is on the table. Given how stretched we are around the world, do we have a credible military option against Iran?

MCCAIN: I'm sure that we have a credible military option, but I think it's important to recognize the president said we wouldn't take it off the table. He also emphasized that we will try every other avenue that we can, and I would say one of them is: Go to the United Nations, and if the Chinese or the Russians want to veto what is a clear and blatant violation on the part of the Iranians of treaties that they are signatories to, then let's see how that plays out. But I...

WALLACE: At this point, we don't have a problem just with them, we seem to have a problem once again with the French and the Germans.

MCCAIN: Yes, I noticed that the chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany came out with a very soft statement after our European friends have said, "Let us try our way, and then we'll join you in your way." It's - life isn't fair. But...

WALLACE: You say, "Life isn't fair." Are they double-crossing us?

MCCAIN: Oh, I think -- I don't know if the word is "double- cross," but it certainly shakes one and gives one very little confidence in the commitments that they clearly made if we went along with their approach.

So I guess my point is, for us to say that the Iranians can do whatever they want to do, and we won't under any circumstances exercise the military option would be the -- would be for them to have a license to do whatever they want to do.
So I think the president's comments that we wouldn't take the option off the table was entirely appropriate.


Two things come to mind with the good senator's pronouncement. The first is that the US doesn't entirely approve of the approach taken by the French and Germans and the US doesn't intend to be bound by the committments made by the European countries using diplomacy. This certainly hamstrings those nations' use of the diplomatic avenue, which earlier in the statement Senator McCain seemed to imply was the first avenue which should be tried.

The second thing is that the US intends once again to use the UN to punish a country the US doesn't like and has already labeled part of the 'axis of evil.' The last time the US used the UN it was against Iraq, and all stops were pulled out for the sole purpose of justifying the military option. Small wonder that the president used a recess appointment to get the aggressive John Bolton to the UN. It looks remarkably like a replay of the last go round.

Here we go again.

1 Comments:

Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Unlike Iraq, Iran has some very important friends like Russia and China.

Getting the SECURITY COUNCIL to condemn them is impossible. Hint: look at NK and how the USA screwed the Chinese diplomats over that puppy.

They will punish us for that number, you will see.

1:57 PM  

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