Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Nuke Kid On The Block

The prelude to what could end up being the next war commences, with the usual prefatory demurral by John Bolton's point man in State.

The Bush administration said Saturday it hopes the U.N. resolution penalizing Iran for its nuclear enrichment program will clear the way for tougher measures against Tehran by individual countries, particularly Russia.

``We don't think this resolution is enough in itself,'' Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said. ``We want the international community to take further action. We're certainly not going to put all our eggs in the U.N. basket.''

Approval of the resolution under a part of the U.N. Charter that makes it binding is ``going to be humiliating for Iran,'' Burns told reporters after the unanimous vote.

Burns said the resolution takes away a main argument against bilateral penalties by individual countries, which have told U.S. officials that they could not do so until the U.N. acted. The administration wants other nations to join the U.S. and stop selling arms to Iran and to limit export credits to Tehran, he said.

``We want to let the Iranians know that there is a big cost to them,'' Burns said, so they will return to talks.

Please. There is no "humiliating" Tehran -- they just had a worldwide conference for Holocaust revisionists. Scarcely a week goes by without Ahmadinejad making the extra effort on some gratuitous Jew-baiting. Shame is not a big motivator here.

But money is, and that's at the heart of the sanctions, and the source of their ineffectiveness. Unless sanctions humiliate Iran's main trading partners -- that is, Russia and China -- it's not going to matter, it'll just be us and the Euros flapping our arms and making strange noises. And since the Europeans are dependent on Russia's energy beneficence, they're going to follow Pooty-Poot's lead in the end.

How's Vlad's soul lookin' these days? Anyone want to ask Alexander Litvinenko about that one?

Indeed, Iran wasted no time at all bringing Israel into this spat, as expected:

Iran denounced U.N. sanctions imposed on its nuclear program Saturday, accusing the Security Council of double standards for ignoring Israel's apparent recent admission of its nuclear capabilities.

Speaking after the Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution, Iran's U.N. ambassador called the sanctions illegal and accused Europe and the United States of trying to prevent Iran from pursuing peaceful nuclear technology.

"A nation is being punished for exercising its inalienable rights," said Javad Zarif, accusing the council of acting at the "behest of a dangerous regime with aggression and war crimes as its signature brand of behavior," referring to Israel.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to abandon Israel's long-standing policy of ambiguity on nuclear weapons when he listed Israel among countries that possess them. His office maintains his comments were misinterpreted.

Of course, Zarif's baiting nonsense aside, Israel is not a signatory to the NPT in the first place. Iran is, though of course under the Pahlavi regime, which undoubtedly renders it null and void from the mullahs' POV.

What we need to do is start disentangling the elements of this dispute: Israel; Iran's legitimate energy-trading needs; and Iran's legitimate security requirements. They do have some -- after all, two huge, close neighors have nukes pointed right at each other. A cranky Russian bear looms right over their heads. They rattle at Israel, but really, Israel is the least of Iran's worries, as long as Iran contains its own provocational belligerence.

These are all obviously complicated grudges to extricate from one another diplomatically, and will require patience, knowledge, compromise, and good faith on both sides. So of course it's not going to happen.

1 comment:

LA Confidential Pantload said...

Patience, knowledge, compromise, and good faith? Did Santa put any one of those in the Boy King's stocking?