Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Lesson for Obama

 "Iran's development of a nuclear weapon, I believe, is unacceptable, and we have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening,'' Obama told reporters in Chicago today.

"I want to be very careful that we are sending the right signals,'' the president-elect said. "Obviously how we approach and deal with a country like Iran is not something we should simply do in a knee-jerk fashion.'' 

What happened to that?  Obama's approach to Iran was supposed to be firm, but one of reason and diplomacy - a far softer approach than I care for in regards to Iran - but he didn't do that.  Instead drawing a line and saying "We will not let you have nuclear weapons, but lets talk this over", his administration pursued a policy of appeasement.

Appeasement typically breeds more bad behavior, while taking a harder line typically makes our enemies (or even allies) think twice.  When America invaded Iraq over WMDs in 2003 it carried the extra benefit of  Libya fully exposing their own WMD program and disarming.  Obama's actions with Iran have also carried consequences, consequences which should of been obvious to the supposed leader of the free world:

Jordan is set on becoming the Middle East's newest nuclear power, Jordanian King Abdullah told the Wall Street Journal in an interview over the weekend.

In the interview, King Abdullah accused Israel of pressuring countries like South Korea and France not to provide nuclear technology to Jordan. He said Israel's "underhanded" actions had helped bring Jordanian-Israeli relations to their lowest point since the 1994 peace agreement.

Jordan has been, more or less, a US ally - a Sunni regime that has learned what happens when you welcome Islamists into your country.  But the fact that they're our ally is the very reason they can openly pursue a nuclear program.  If we won't stop a nation we consider our enemies from attaining nuclear weapons, why would we stop a nation we consider friends from pursuing nuclear power?  King Abdullah even promises that the nation will abide by the non-proliferation treaty, but how long will that last if Iran gets nuclear weapons or Jordan ever feels like it needs deterrence?

In fact deterrence is the major issue with Iran having nuclear weapons.  The anti-Iranian nations of the region will almost certainly make the argument that they need nuclear weapons to protect themselves, and will pursue nuclear agendas or be forced to fall under the Iranian sphere of influence.  None of this is a good thing.

This chain reaction isn't contained to the mid-east.

Take Venezuela, who has backed Iran from the very start.  Venezuela falls into that same fanatically anti-American category as Iran, though with an insane clown for a leader rather than tyrannical fundamentalists.   A stand against Iran would likely have the result of putting nuclear power out of Venezuela's hands, or at the very least make the Russians think twice about using Venezuela as a convenient tool.  America's response to Iran means that any threat or condemnation will be viewed as toothless, and ultimately Chavez has nothing to gain from working with America anyways (his entire platform is based off the tried and failed marxist rhetoric) so diplomacy is just as much out the window with them as it is with Iran.

Or Myanmar who will almost certainly be armed by either China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, or Russia should America prove unwilling (or unable) to stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

And then there's Brazil, a rising power that has had a history with seeking nuclear weapons and has taken an increasingly anti-American stance in recent years.

Each nation that attains nuclear weapons sets disturbs the delicate balance in place.  If Venezuela gets nuclear power, for example, they'll almost certainly share it with their marxist/socialist allies (Cuba, Nicaragua), and Colombia may very well require nuclear weapons to hold the Venezuelans in check.  A nuclear Myanmar could spark trouble in Indonesia, Thailand, and even Australia in the long run.

Obviously the more people armed with nuclear weapons, the worse off everyone is.

Obama needs to fully understand the consequences for failure here, and I don't think he does.  By failing to deal with Iran he has emboldened our enemies, and potentially crippled America's ability to keep her enemies in check.  Nothing about his stance on Iran is intelligent - in fact its quite stupid - and it reinforces the international view that Obama is weak.  If he wants to make non-proliferation and disarmament a primary policy (no matter how silly the latter is), then he should start getting serious with Iran, and by serious I mean doing something other than passing toothless resolutions.  He also needs to wake up and realize that some of these regimes aren't going to want to talk unless the swords is against their throat.

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