Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fantasy, and Reality

The Washington Post today has examples of both on their op-ed page; the subject being how to deal with a soon-to-be nuclear Iran. Let's start with fantasy; as it is so much more palatable - Anatol Lieven speaks here:

The way out of this particular trap is to accept limited Iranian uranium enrichment under strict supervision and focus instead on creating really tough and effective barriers to armament. We need to verifiably freeze Iranian enrichment and other nuclear capabilities at least 18 months short of weapons capacity. This time lag should be sufficient for the U.S. and the international community to receive sufficient warning of Iran's moves and to respond accordingly.
This approach would have a number of great advantages. It would return the U.S. and Europe to the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed by Iran, and prevent the Iranians from claiming that they are being subjected to unfair and illegal discrimination. It would hold the Iranian government to its own repeated public statements that it is not seeking nuclear weapons. And in return for bowing to Russian and Chinese concerns about the present U.S. course, it would allow us to bind these states and the rest of the international community to impose extremely tough sanctions on Iran if that country did in fact violate this agreement and move towards armament.
This international response should be agreed in advance by a public treaty signed by the members of the U.N. Security Council, the G8, and other appropriate international organizations.

What world do you inhabit, Mr. Lieven? One where first and foremost we must make sure the Iranians are not being discriminated against? Gee, that'll really help global security... It seems as if Mr. Lieven is incapable of turning his head backwards and looking at the history of the world in the last, oh, fifteen minutes. All of the "public statements" and tough sanctions and binding treaties were imposed upon Iraq after the first Gulf War, and to what end? Turns out that the very signitories he speaks of above, Russia and China, were subverting the sanctions for profit, all while his precious UN, which was supposed to be policing the deal, stuffed its pockets with cash and looked away. This "escape from the trap" is the recipie for failure cooked up by those whom honestly believe there is little to no danger in a nuclear-armed Iran, and would have no issues seeing reversals to the United States (temporarily) and Israel (permanently).

Now for a dose of reality, from Mark Helprin:

Iran's claim of innocuous nuclear ambitions comports both with the Islamic doctrine of taqqiya (literal truth need not be conveyed to infidels) and the Western doctrine of state secrecy (the same thing), and it is part of a strategy of deception and false compromise deployed to buy time. After almost three years, the Bush administration has maneuvered the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, where it will fall under the protection of Russia and China, which will make any resolution meaningless or veto it outright. In the event of sanctions, Iran can sell oil to China in exchange for all the manufactures it might need, trade on the black market and eventually reenter the world economy after the inevitable unveiling of Iranian nuclear weapons stimulates the resignation of the West.

But because the Iranian drive for deployable nuclear weapons will take years, we have a period of grace. In that time, we would do well to strengthen -- in numbers and mass as well as quality -- the means with which we fight, to reinforce the fleet train with which to supply the fighting lines, and to plan for a land route from the Mediterranean across Israel and Jordan to the Tigris and Euphrates. And even if we cannot extricate ourselves from nation-building and counterinsurgency in Iraq, we must have a plan for remounting the army there so that it can fight and maneuver as it was born to do.

Read it all; the essay has a clear view of effective Iranian military strategies that will be used should the United States or any coalition of Western nations attack. But a clear vision, not a dreamer's fantasy, is what is needed here. Again, if we can just look into our recent past, we can see in the Iranian crisis the same maneuvers, threats, and feints used buy Hitler to gain so many concessions, and so much time, before he waged his horrific war on Europe.

The game starts anew; with the same rules, and the same scripts, we can only expect a similar outcome - death on an unbelievable scale. An early strike now by the West, while costing thousands of lives today, will quite possibly save millions down the road. Imagine if France and England had struck Germany when the Nazis first re-crossed into the Rhineland in the late '30s.....

Will the names of one of today's Western leaders become as synonomous with appeasement as Neville Chamberlain?

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