Monday, March 06, 2006

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

Yesterday I posted a couple of foreign news articles about the US deal with India which allowed it pretty free rein when it came to nuclear development (scroll down to "Hitting the Trifecta"). One of the points made was that the world sees the US treating countries differently on the nuclear issue depending on how "close" to the US they are, regardless of the rules of the Non-proliferation Treaty. Today, the NY Times has an article which suggests that there has already been some fall-out by the US-India deal.

Iran and the United States on Sunday heralded a crucial week of decision-making at the International Atomic Energy Agency by exchanging thinly veiled threats about the consequences of a vote to send the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council.

Iran's chief negotiator renewed a threat to interrupt petroleum exports if the IAEA board of governors followed through on its vote last month to report Iran to the Security Council pending a last stab at a diplomatic solution. Iran is the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"If we are referred to the Security Council, problems might occur for others as well as us," Ali Larijani said at a news conference. "We would not like to use our oil as a weapon. We would not like to make other countries suffer."

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton, in turn warned of "painful consequences" if Iran made good on a separate threat, also repeated Sunday in Tehran, to answer a punitive vote by moving rapidly toward large-scale uranium enrichment. Enriching uranium can produce fuel for civilian power reactors, which is all Iran says its nuclear program is intended for. The same process, if taken further, can also produce fuel for nuclear warheads, which the Bush administration and other skeptics assert is Iran's ultimate goal.

"The Iran regime must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation, there will be tangible and painful consequences," Bolton said at the convention of a pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Reuters news agency reported. He said the United States was prepared to "use all the tools at our disposal to stop the threat." President Bush has repeatedly said the possibility of military strikes remains "on the table" even as Washington endorsed an intense international diplomatic effort.
[Emphasis added]

The current US regime had to have known that the announcement of the nuclear deal with India (who is a non-signatory to the Non-proliferation Treaty) would throw a monkey wrench into the delicate negotiations between Russia and Iran on the nuclear enrichment issue, negotiations which had reached a crucial stage at the time of the announcement. Certainly two possibilities are suggested by the US move.

The first is that the US regime simply didn't care. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that cowboy diplomacy was called into play. As the big kid on the block, this administration continues to feel it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, for any reason it wants.

The second, and far more unsettling, possibility is that the rush to get the agreement with India signed was precisely to kill the negotiations between the Russians and Iranians so that the US could justify a military action against Iran. The Emperor and his minions have all along made it clear that a "military option" always remains on the table.

Regardless of which scenario is in play, and it is possible that both are, the move by the administration in its deal with India was ill conceived and ill timed. I suspect we are going to pay for this stupidity in ways we can't even nightmare about.

Heckuva job, George.