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February 5, 2010

Obama's Nuclear Free Fantasy World Part II

In Obama's Nuclear Free Fantasy World I wrote that The honest truth is that a "nuclear free world" has always meant a nuclear-free United States, because as I said earlier there is no way the other nuclear armed countries of this world would be so stupid as to follow suit, and yes that includes France."

I didn't know how right I was.

Charles Krauthammer relates this amazing story in a lecture he gave at the Heritage Foundation on Monday:

The depths of Obama's naïve universalism can be seen in his pursuit of this deeply unserious goal, the most dramatic instance of which, as Nicolas Sarkozy will not easily forget, occurred on September 24, one day after Obama's speech to the General Assembly, when he ostentatiously presided over the Security Council, the first time an American President had ever done so.

At the time, unknown to the world, Obama had knowledge that the Iranians had built a secret uranium enrichment facility near Qom. France and Britain were urging him to use that dramatic setting to stun the world with that revelation and thus be in a position to call for powerful immediate action. Not only did Obama refuse, but Sarkozy was forced to scrap any mention of Qom in his speech. Obama only revealed the news a day later in Pittsburgh.

Why did he forgo the opportunity? Because, explained White House officials, Obama did not want anything at that Security Council meeting to get in the way of his dream of a nuclear-free world. He did not want to "dilute" his disarmament resolution by "diverting to Iran."

Iran as a diversion? It's the most important security issue on the planet. A diversion from the fantasy of universal nuclear disarmament?

Sarkozy was sitting at that same Council table and could hardly contain himself. With Obama at the chair, Sarkozy pointedly observed: "President Obama has even said 'I dream of a world without [nuclear weapons].' Yet before our very eyes, two countries are currently doing the exact opposite." Sarkozy also informed the President that "we live in a real world, not a virtual world."

What have we come to when the President of France thinks our leader is a wimp?

Former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton explains the problem:

More Mr. Nice Guy
While nukes proliferate, Obama fiddles.
By John Bolton

(During his State of the Union Address) the president found time to opine more explicitly than ever before that reducing America's nuclear weapons and delivery systems will temper the global threat of proliferation. Obama boasted that "the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades" and that he is trying to secure "all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists."

Then came Obama's critical linkage: "These diplomatic efforts have also strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons." Obama described the increasing "isolation" of both North Korea and Iran, the two most conspicuous--but far from the only--nuclear proliferators. He also mentioned the increased sanctions imposed on Pyongyang after its second nuclear test in 2009 and the "growing consequences" he says Iran will face because of his policies.

In fact, reducing our nuclear -arsenal will not somehow persuade Iran and North Korea to alter their behavior or encourage others to apply more pressure on them to do so. Obama's remarks reflect a complete misreading of strategic realities.

The premise underlying (Obama's) assertions may well be found in Obama's smug earlier comment that we should "put aside the schoolyard taunts about who is tough.  .  .  .  Let's leave behind the fear and division." By reducing to the level of wayward boys the debates over whether his policies are making us more or less secure, Obama reveals a deep disdain for the decades of strategic thinking that kept America safe during the Cold War and afterwards. Even more pertinent, Obama's indifference and scorn for real threats are chilling auguries of what the next three years may hold.

Obama has now explicitly rejected the idea that U.S. weakness is provocative, arguing instead that weakness will convince Tehran and Pyongyang to do the opposite of what they have been resolutely doing for decades--vigorously pursuing their nuclear and missile programs. Obama's first year amply demonstrates that his approach will do nothing even to retard, let alone stop, Iran and North Korea.

Neither Bush nor Obama administration efforts toward international sanctions have had any measurable impact....

For years I've been saying that there can be no successful negotiating with the revolutionary government of Iran. They are bound and determined to get nuclear weapons because they see them as the key to their goal of achieving regional hegemony. As such, the best solution is regime change, and failing that, military action.

Whether we've been clandestinely engaged in trying to change the government is unknown, but out public actions have certainly not been calibrated to achieving that goal.

I've written at length about this,but long story short we could and should have been overtly supporting a change of government, dissidents, and making a huge issue out of Iran's terrible record on human rights. That Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terror is also something we should have been screaming to the high heavens, but instead our leaders have been silent.

For the most part George W Bush let the EU3 (France, the UK, and Germany) handle negotiations with Iran. As Bolton explains above, it didn't work. Those who continue to talk about sanctions as the answer aren't reading the papers:

Talk of Iran sanctions hinders diplomacy, says China Friday, February 05, 2010 Reuters

China told other world powers on Thursday that discussing broader sanctions against Iran was counter-productive, striking a blow to a Western push to rein in Tehran's nuclear program. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a conference during a visit to France that Tehran's negotiating position was evolving and he wanted to see more direct talks with Iran.

"To talk about sanctions at the moment will complicate the situation and might stand in the way of finding a diplomatic solution," Yang said.

France is among Western powers seeking to have the UN Security Council approve a fourth batch of sanctions against Iran by the end of March to prod Tehran into freezing uranium enrichment, which can have peaceful or military purposes.

Russia, like China, has extensive trade ties with Iran and both acted to weaken previous rounds of Security Council sanctions.

But a Russian lawmaker said on Thursday that Moscow and Western powers had already moved closer to agreement on the need for farther-reaching punitive measures.

We've been through this so often that I've no faith whatsoever that there is any hope of enforcing the level of sanctions that would stand a chance of getting the mullahs to stop their nuclear program.

And why should China or Russia agree to sanctions? They've got good trade going with Iran which they see no reason to spoil. Iranian nukes wouldn't be pointed at them, and if and everyone knows that Chinese or Russian leaders wouldn't hesitate to erase Iran from the map if necessary. Everyone does doubt U.S. resolve however, and with good reason: Barack Obama is seen as a wimp.

Israel may strike Iran, but they have very limited resources, and the best they can do is set their nuclear program back for awhile. At the rate things are going, Iran will eventually get nuclear weapons, whatever type of world Obama is dreaming of. Can you imagine a situation where their nuclear weapons are more modern than ours? It would be the case. Our most recent warhead is the W88, designed in the 1970s.

Whatever, one can argue that we have better delivery systems. True enough. What seems inarguable, however, is that severely reducing our arsenal will not persuade Iran, North Korea, or any of the other bad actors to give up their programs, and indeed will reduce our options in striking back if that's what it comes down to.

As I said at the beginning, it's a sad day when the President of France things out leader is a wimp.

Posted by Tom at February 5, 2010 8:16 PM

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What have we come to when the President of France thinks our leader is a wimp?

A mighty sorry pass and one that threatens the safety of each one of us.

Iran is emboldened by the foolishness of any Western leader who wants to emasculate our national defense!

Posted by: Always On Watch Author Profile Page at February 6, 2010 2:16 PM

Tom, you said, "we could and should have been overtly supporting a change of government, dissidents, and making a huge issue out of Iran's terrible record on human rights". I think that would just add fuel to their fire, (they already blame the US for the actions of their dissidents) and as for any clandestine moves to change their government, I am sure there are, especially on the part of the Israelis, many of whom are natives of that part of the world, but the Iranians themselves don't want our involvement there. They don't want any more colonialism, no more Shahs like the one they deposed.

As for wimps, I thought it was France that was the wimp in WWII and in Iraq. They refused to help us at every turn.

And as far as reducing our "arsenal", I don't think Obama has any intention of doing so--he just makes sounds like Iran does, that they only want nuclear power for peaceful purposes, so Obama says that we need a nuclear-weapons free world. It is all a strange game of cat and mouse.

I wish I could remember exactly what Obama said when told that Chavez had threatened to engage the US in a war--he said something like "He has peanuts compared to what we have", and Chavez himself stated his frustration with the seven American bases that surround his country--we support his enemies to the hilt. Chavez even thinks that the US caused the Haitian earthquake--is he that paranoid, or what?

Port Orchard, WA

Posted by: Emilie at February 6, 2010 10:16 PM

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