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Sunday, January 15, 2006
Iran Amok?

Looks like the crisis with Iran is about to bubble over. The Scotsman takes the nothing will work line:



With UN approval out of the question, the US would probably have to go it alone, with even loyal ally Britain a non-starter. US forces are already overstretched in Iraq, and with Congressional mid-term elections approaching, there is no stomach in Washington for another foreign military adventure.


More feasible than a land invasion, but the preferred option of only a small group of neo-conservatives in the US administration. The model would be Israel's successful air attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in June 1981. But the political fall-out in the Arab world would be immense.


The official preferred option of the US and the European Union. But likely to be stalled in the Security Council by Russia and China. Could be counter-productive since Iran would react by cutting off oil supplies to the West. Another option is limited sanctions against Iran's leaders, such as travel restrictions and the freezing of bank accounts.


Iran could be banned from international sports events. Conservative MP Michael Ancram has called for the Iranian team to be expelled from this year's World Cup. Any such ban would create outrage among the football-crazy Iranians. FIFA, soccer's governing body, said last month that it would not expel Iran.


Still on the cards despite the bellicose noises coming from Tehran. The Iranians have a reputation for saying no when they mean maybe. A possible deal could involve Russia making nuclear fuel which could be used only for peaceful purposes on its own territory as part of a joint venture with Iran. Would need a face-saving formula to satisfy Iran's national pride.

Gotta love that; the biggest problem with all the solutions is how to placate Iran. I suspect strongly that the Israelis already have a plan that is just awaiting the orders.

Bill Kristol says that's being escapist:

This is not a history lesson about Iraq. These are today's headlines about Iran, where the regime is openly pursuing its ambition to become a nuclear power. "But this time diplomacy has to be given a chance to work," the doves coo. "Maybe this time Israel will take care of the problem," some hawks whisper. Both are being escapist.

Doves profess concern about Iran's nuclear program and endorse various diplomatic responses to it. But they don't want even to contemplate the threat of military action. Perhaps military action won't ultimately be necessary. But the only way diplomatic, political, and economic pressure has a chance to work over the next months is if the military option--or various military options--are kept on the table.

Meanwhile, some hawks, defenders of the Iraq war, would prefer to deal with one challenge at a time. They hope we can kick the can down the road a while longer, or that a deus ex machine--a Jewish one!--will appear to do our job for us.

Ann McFeatters buys into the Scotsman's notion:

The Bush administration's options are not cause for optimism. The president, for a multitude of good reasons, is uninterested in military action. He advocates diplomacy, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been diligent in trying to persuade Russia that a nuclear Iran could destabilize the entire continent.

So far Russia has agreed only to "abstain" when the International Atomic Energy Agency votes on whether to ask the Security Council to take economic action against Iran. Russia, which sells weapons to Iran, has no interest in closing such a lucrative avenue. Ditto for China, which also craves Iranian oil and markets.

This has the feel of a slippery slope. If the United States is unable to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power, other countries will follow. The entire geopolitical world will shift. Our children will become slaves to fear.

Michelle Malkin says we are on the brink.

My simple question: Do Americans understand the gravity of the situtation? I fear not. Once again, we are ill-served by a short-sighted, narcissistic, Bush-deranged news media far more interested in playing "gotcha," selling fish-wrap, and serving as Democrat Party adjuncts than keeping readers/viewers informed of the world's biggest threats.

Indeed all one has to do is look over at the Huffpo for evidence of this. Among the current top 20 blog posts, only this one concerns Iran. There are several posts on how the Democrats should stop Alito, a couple on the ridiculous Stephen Frey book, a bunch of the usual griping about President Bush, and a few on New Orleans.
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