by J. F. Kelly, Jr. | Coronado
Does anyone doubt any longer that it is now only a matter of time before Iran acquires a nuclear weapons capability? The Obama administration has, by its actions, or lack thereof, made it obvious to the rest of the world that it has utterly failed in its efforts to dissuade the radical anti-Western and anti-Israeli regime of Mahmoud Amadinejad from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability which it has threatened to use against our Israeli allies. The issue now is how to deal with the reality of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Allowing this risk to become reality must be considered one of President Obama’s most grievous failures. A nuclear-armed Iran not only threatens Israel but will most likely set off an arms race in the Middle East with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and perhaps others attempting to acquire their own nuclear arsenal. Mr. Obama had stated repeatedly that a nuclear-armed Iran was not acceptable. Apparently, we are going to have to learn how to accept it because his strategy of sanctions and negotiations has not worked and, arguably, has made matters worse by strengthening Iran’s resolve, not only to join the nuclear club, but to embarrass the United States in the process.
Mr. Obama’s strategy counted heavily on opening a dialogue with Iran and, if talks failed, to impose tough sanctions. The talks went nowhere with Iran using them to stall for time. The sanctions imposed to date have been so pathetically weak that they wouldn’t deter anyone from doing anything. Tougher sanctions required cooperation from China and Russia and here Mr. Obama struck out again. China never gave any serious indication of willingness to go along with tougher sanctions and Russia used the occasion of a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to announce that, not only would it not lean on China to support tougher sanctions, it was helping Iran build a new reactor.
It must be obvious in Israel by now that the United States will not prevent Iran from acquiring nukes and the means to deliver them. But for Israel to act militarily on its own at this point would be extremely risky. Yet, Israelis surely must have new doubts about U.S. determination and resolve to protect them from a nuclear-armed Iran. Who can blame them given our performance thus far? The Obama administration didn’t help matters by becoming “incensed” over the announcement by Israel during Vice-president Joe Biden’s visit that Israel would build more apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s subsequent lengthy rebuke of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and the frosty White House reception he received, opened up an unnecessary rift in relations at a very difficult time.
President Obama and his advisors are still laboring under the misguided view that now is the time for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem; that it would, somehow, suddenly endear us to Moslems everywhere. Israel, having learned, most recently in Gaza, that land for peace doesn’t work when the other side still denies your right to even exist, has nothing to be gained now by agreeing to an independent Palestine, which, like Gaza, could quickly become a sanctuary for rocket attacks against all of Israel. Israelis have grown weary of endless talks brokered by the U.S. about a two-state solution which go nowhere. They are now focused on the realty of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Mr. Obama promised a new era in foreign relations and a break from his predecessor’s more confrontational policies. He has spent over a year trying to “reach out and engage”, to use the trendy terms, his adversaries. Iran, in response, has basically told him to go to hell. Mr. Obama’s soft, diplomatic approach has failed. Iran knows that our demands and threats are as toothless as UN resolutions. They are confident that Obama does not have the stomach for a military response, even to prevent the unacceptable.
So what do we do now? Having failed to stop Iran from acquiring nukes by diplomatic means, will the Obama administration continue this same feckless approach in trying to keep Iran from using them against Israel or as blackmail? Does Israel, or our other allies for that matter, have any reason now to trust in the resolve of the Obama administration to actually use nuclear weapons, even in response to an Iranian first strike?
Failed strategies usually have negative consequences. One consequence of this administration’s failure to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is a more unstable and dangerous Middle East. The failure, moreover, will be rightly perceived by friends and foes alike as a serious foreign policy defeat for the United States and a clear indication of our diminished international influence. Other nations have learned that they can now reject or ignore our demands with impunity. For this Mr. Obama must take full responsibility. CRO
copyright 2010 J.F. Kelly, Jr
J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California.