Note that the NYT uses Sanger to make a vaguely academic, determinedly confused, purposefully non-judgmental case for the status quo ante in Sunday NYT, “Suppose We Just Let Iran Have the Bomb.”
Facts are inconvenient but required alongside the Sanger wandering-around in the groves of think tanks masquerading as anti-Bush Administration policy wonkhood.
1. The UN Charter is a large roadblock to the US doing anything with regard Iran. The UN Charter Chapter 7, article 42, provides for air, land, sea intervention in the event the UNSC votes to sanction a member state as a war-maker. Violation of the NPT by a signatory (Iran) decribes amply what is the UN’s idea of war-making. It will take months and perhaps years to get the UNSC to such a series of votes and resolutions, but the process is well-advanced, and history says that once the talk starts, the permanent members get real antsy to get it over with either way.
2. Iran is an aggressor state committed to battering the US and its allies into confrontation. The nuke fuel cycle is a ploy by Iran, not by the US or the UN. Iran aims to use the impotence of the UNSC as a demonstration that it is a regional hegemon that has ambitions to be a global hegemon.
3. The US is a Middle East regional hegemon because of Iraq. To stand by and permit Iran to bully the UNSC into surrender would be to toss the Iraq expedition into the ashheap. And Israel into the ashheap. And Jordan, Kuwait, the Persian Gulf states. There may be an American president who is willing to take the risk of turning over the Arabian oilfields to a Tehran gangland, but not this president, not ever.
4. Iran knows that time is on the US side. The longer Iran takes to force a confrontation, the more likely something will happen that weakens its hold on Russia, China, Syria and so forth kindred of bullying. Now is the time for Iran to find maximum support. Any US move will be regarded as an attack by the Crusader State and its Zionist stepson, and this will rally the Ummah and swing Russia and China to Iran’s side.
5. Am specially struck by a fatalistic sourness from Sanger’s source, Biddle of the geniuses at CFR. “Iran has a return address, and any state with a return address can be retaliated against.”
Wrong on the facts. Iran uses surrogates routinely, and no retaliation is on record.
Wrong on the facts. Iran aims to ride out the US counterstrike with the Tehran regime in invulnerable bunkers and the TV showing the depredations on the helpless populace of Tehran and so forth.
6. This is an election year, and Iran regime has concluded that the US cannot respond to a crisis in an election year. Wait one year from now, with the Bush team through the midterms, and the calculation of what the US national security apparatus may do will be much more challenging to figure; e.g., how long would the bombing continue until a demand for ceasefire from the Europeans?
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