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July 02, 2009

John Bolton: Israel Should Bomb Iran's Nuke Facilities
Israel's Submarine Force: Already On It, Hoss

The Mustache of Silvery Justice speaks.

Only those most theologically committed to negotiation still believe Iran will fully renounce its nuclear program. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has a "Plan B," which would allow Iran to have a "peaceful" civil nuclear power program while publicly "renouncing" the objective of nuclear weapons. Obama would define such an outcome as "success," even though in reality it would hardly be different from what Iran is doing and saying now. A "peaceful" uranium enrichment program, "peaceful" reactors such as Bushehr and "peaceful" heavy-water projects like that under construction at Arak leave Iran with an enormous breakout capability to produce nuclear weapons in very short order. And anyone who believes the Revolutionary Guard Corps will abandon its weaponization and ballistic missile programs probably believes that there was no fraud in Iran's June 12 election. See "huge credibility gap," supra.

In short, the stolen election and its tumultuous aftermath have dramatically highlighted the strategic and tactical flaws in Obama's game plan. With regime change off the table for the coming critical period in Iran's nuclear program, Israel's decision on using force is both easier and more urgent. Since there is no likelihood that diplomacy will start or finish in time, or even progress far enough to make any real difference, there is no point waiting for negotiations to play out. In fact, given the near certainty of Obama changing his definition of "success," negotiations represent an even more dangerous trap for Israel.

Allah suggests that Israel hold off to see what develops. But..

...his point about attacking at a moment when the public has never been more disaffected with the regime is well taken. The fear that striking Iran would drive Iranians back into the arms of the government has always been a deterrent, but in light of the schism over the past two weeks, itís hard to imagine that happening. Thereís no longer a relationship between the people and their rulers; such is the hatred, in fact, that I wonder how many of them would secretly thrill to seeing the Revolutionary Guardís nose bloodied. Itís a gamble, but the odds really never have been better.

I don't think the point is well-taken, myself. The political crisis in Iran is urgent and acute, whereas the nuclear crisis is in the same phase it's long been in -- they're getting closer every day, but they're not there yet. Iranians might be happy to have their country hit by Israeli missiles, but I doubt it, and even if they would be happy to see this, certainly they would be just as happy to see it six months hence when the mullahs have completely reasserted their fascist control and offer no hopes whatsoever of reform or change.

They'd be likelier to see it happen then, in fact, as it would disrupt a government they'd been trying, unsuccessfully, to overthrow.

Israel, on the other hand, may disagree.

After a long hiatus, the Israeli Navy has returned to sailing through the Suez Canal, recently sending one of its advanced Dolphin-class submarines through the waterway to participate in naval maneuvers off the Eilat coast in the Red Sea.

IDF sources said the decision to allow navy vessels to sail through the canal was made recently and was a definite "change of policy" within the service.


The significance of the move was debatable, but it could be interpreted as a message to Iran and a demonstration of strengthening ties between Egypt and Israel.

In the event of a conflict with Iran, and if Israel decided to involve its three Dolphin-class submarines - which according to foreign reports can fire nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and serve as a second-strike platform - the quickest route would be to send them through the Suez Canal.

I've been wondering why Obama is so in the pocket of the mullahs in Iran, so afraid to say a bad word about them. I think I know the reason.

It has long been obvious that Teheran has been buying time with which to complete its nuclear program. I think Obama is also buying time, and for the same purpose -- to allow Iran to complete its nuclear program.

In a roundabout way.

Teheran wants the pretext of "negotiations" to stall for time. But Obama wants that too. Obama, along with most in the Democratic establishment (and a good part of the Republican establishment, too), has decided that Iran will get nuclear weapons, and there is no way to halt or delay this short of war, a step they have decided is beyond serious consideration. They now look past the official nuclearization of Iran to the next step, deterrence and living with a nuclear Iran.

But while Obama and much of the establishment has decided this, they have not made this case to the American public. They maintain our official policy is that the US will not accept a nuclear Iran, yadda yadda yadda, and know if they suggest otherwise to the public, the public will be angered at their passivity.

So Obama pretends he will not accept a nuclear Iran, and that his means of demonstrating this supposed non-acceptance of a nuclear Iran just happens to the exact same means Iran uses to develop its nukes, that is, endless negotiations which both sides know are entirely pointless -- except for the useful kabuki play they're both putting on for US citizens.

Obama needs the ploy of fruitless negotiations much more than Iran does. Iran could, at any moment, simply declare they're not trading away their nukes for anything, and that negotiation is pointless, and that they're developing them no matter what, and then just develop them without the pretext of negotiation. And they would suffer no consequences for this.

We know this because it's already happened -- Ahmadinejad really did declare that negotiations were futile and that Iran would never give up its nuke program. But this obviously caused no change of policy in the Obama administration.

But Obama does need this fig leaf. Iran doesn't really need the fig leaf, though from time to time they wear it, as it's freely available to them; but they don't need it. Whether they pretend they're negotiating this week or not, they suffer no consequences for developing nukes.

But Obama would suffer consequences if Iran didn't agree to pretend to negotiate -- because the American public really does not want Iran to have nukes. Obama needs the Let's Pretend game of negotiation with the Iranians, in order to hide from the American people that his real policy on Iranian nukes is to permit them.

The moment Iran makes it crystal clear they're not negotiating anything, Obama know longer has that fig leaf, and then must either confront Iran (which he would not do under any circumstances) or capitulate to them (which brings with it a domestic political cost).

Obama has no Plan B. Actually, he doesn't have Plan A, either, but he pretends he does. The moment Pretend Plan A fails, his true plan, which is no plan, is exposed, and he's slammed (rightly) as a feckless appeaser who all but delivered the bomb to the mad mullahs.

Now, that is where we are headed. We are on that track and there are no branching tracks available. That is our endpoint. The only question is how quickly we get there.

Obama, of course, would like to stall. He will have to take this hit at some point, but obviously he'd prefer it to be just as he's departing office after having completed his second term. And to delay this realization that we have capitulated to Iran's nuclear passions, he wants to pretend he's got some plausible way to avoid it.

Now, when Iran does detonate a nuke, he will confess surprise and sadness (and maybe even "troubled concern" or whatnot). But he will say, dishonestly, he did all he could to avoid it.

It's for this reason Obama needs the pretend goodwill of the mullahs much, much more than the mullahs need the pretend goodwill of Obama. They can get and will get what they want from Obama -- full capitulation -- whether they pretend to negotiate or not.

But for Obama, this pretense of negotiation is absolutely critical to his strategy. His strategy is not to actually resolve the crisis in the national interest. His strategy is only to delay the point at which he takes political damage for failing to resolve the crisis, and pretending, up until that point, to be busily and fruitfully working to resolve it.

He needs that. And for that he needs the mullahs.

But they don't need him for that. Notice that they're not terribly worried about "meddling" in US politics when they accuse the CIA of engineering the premeditated murder of Neda. They can say that, they can toss around such accusations, because they don't need a damn thing from Obama.

Obama needs something from them -- and they know it.

An Old Saying... explains Obama's strategy. His strategy of selling this to the American public, I mean.

It is easier to beg for forgiveness than to obtain permission.

In other words, it's easier to present someone with a fait accompli and say "Sorry, my bad" than to sell them on it before it's accomplished.

He can't sell America on allowing Iran to have nukes. Or at least not without taking damage he doesn't want to.

So he will pretend he's "working on" the problem with "smart, outside-the-box diplomacy" until they detonate a nuke, at which case he'll apologize and say "Gee, guys, guess I got taken for a ride. Those stinking liars! Let's all be mad at them together! But not too mad. They have nukes, now, so it's not like we can do anything to express our anger at how badly they've duped me, your Messiah."

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posted by Ace at 07:35 PM

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