Drudge has a sirens blaring headline screaming, “Iran Nuke ‘This Year,'” though after reading the story he links to, it turns out the headline is unsurprisingly exaggerating things. The article cites a new report from the Institute for Strategic Studies concluding that “During 2009, Iran will probably reach the point at which it has produced the amount of low-enriched uranium needed to make a nuclear bomb,” however it cautions that, “being able to enrich uranium is not the same as having a nuclear weapon.” Still, the report further undermines the controversial U.S. National Intellegence Estimate that said Iran had halted it’s nuclear program six years ago.
Whatever the timeline, this issue will almost definitely be coming to a head within Barack Obama’s first term. Right now, Likud’s Benyamin Netanyahu is the favorite to become Israel’s new prime minister after next month’s elections, and in an op-ed in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post, he wrote, “the outcome of one issue will prove more important to Obama’s presidency than all others: Will his administration succeed in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?” To Israelis, the threat of a nuclear Iran is existential in a way that their conflict with Hamas or Hezbollah is not (though of course both groups operate through money and weapons they receive from Iran). No Israeli prime minister would allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons without taking action to stop it, and this is especially true if Netanyahu does go on to win.
Obama, famously, promised during the campaign to conduct face-to-face talks with the leader of Iran without preconditions, yet now in office, his new U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said they would be willing to engage in lower level direct talks only if Iran suspended its uranium enrichment program. As Abe Greenwald pointed out, this is no different than the Bush administration policy. But a continuation of the Bush administration policy won’t work, because Obama won’t have the luxury of time.
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That’s right, the Grinch (Joe Biden) is coming for your pocketbooks this Christmas season with record inflation. Just to recap, here is a list of items that have gone up during his reign.
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