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Jewish World Review
Sept. 30, 2009/ 12 Tishrei 5770
Iran: Bad Options and Unpreparedness
"It's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddlingthe U.S. President meddling in Iranian elections."
Barack Obama, June 16, 2009
One of the fundamental questions that arises in politics is all about timing: what did someone know and when did they know it? According to news reports released last week, the "revelation" regarding a second nuclear facility constructed by Iranians in the holy city of Qom was anything but. Many sources say Western nations have know about the facility for "months." Others say say the United States has known about it for over a year. Still others say Western intelligence sources were aware of it as soon as Iran began construction back in 2006.
Which time frame is most accurate? Irrelevant, save for one immutable reality: president Obama had to know about the second site when he decided to squander any chance of abetting a regime change in Iran.
By refusing to "meddle," the president allowed Iranian dissidents to be crushed. The American left characterized Mr. Obama's hands-off policy as a shrewd diplomatic move.
Sadly, such naivete' regarding murderous regimes is unsurprising. The left, including Mr. Obama, has long been convinced that sufficient amounts of diplomacy, coupled with self-deprecation, is all that is necessary turn the world into a utopian garden of harmony and cooperation.
The hypocrisy however, is breathtaking. The very same left which champions itself as a staunch defender of freedom, human rights, and the "little people" were perfectly willing to allow ordinary Iranians to be beaten, jailed and murdered so as not to upset the diplomatic apple cart.
Anyone paying serious attention knows there are no good options regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions. There are only the lesser of evil choices to be made. One choice is sanctions. That they have failed completely, despite the efforts of France, Germany and Britain for years has apparently made no impression. That they are virtually unenforceable due to Russian and Chinese intransigence, coupled with their commercial interests in Iran, also underscores their ineffectiveness.
Military action? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and company have taken the measure of our "un-meddlesome" president, and it would appear they like what they see: a weak, inexperienced apologist with little stomach for conflict. They see a man willing to make moral equivalency between Palestinian intifada and Israeli self-defense. If anyone is likely to initiate military action it will be the Israelis, whose very existence is at stake. It is anybody's guess whether, under such a scenario, Mr. Obama would be willing to "meddle" militarily on the side of our ally.
They are still our ally, aren't they?
Which brings us to regime change. If there is one strategy embraced by a majority of nations, this is ostensibly the one. I say ostensibly, because the golden opportunity presented by the Iranian elections and their historical aftermath has come and gone. The United States could have stood on the side of freedom. We could have demanded a halt to the murder of innocents. We could have told the world that we know the election was an unequivocal fraud, and that the regime had no legitimacy in the eyes of freedom-loving people everywhere.
We took a passeven though we knew about the second nuclear facility.
Now what? Military strategy is determined by experts, one of which I am not. But common sense suggests that if the possibility of war looms on the horizon, one prepares for it. In other words, it's long past time America began to develop a war-footing approach to energy. It is incomprehensible that a wholesale exploitation of our domestic oil resources isn't even being considered. The same goes for a Manhattan Project-style urgency with regard to the development of nuclear power.
So what is Congress doing to prepare? Debating cap-and-trade, the ultimate sop to the environmentalists who couldn't care less if oil goes to $400 a barrel as a result of what looks increasingly like an unavoidable conflict.
President Obama and other like-minded individuals still cling to the hope that the Iranians will be won over. I sincerely hope they are right. But if they're not, and we remain as unprepared as we are right now, they must be held accountable. No political ideology which leaves America vulnerable to her enemies should be given a pass, no matter how well-intentioned. Unfortunately, leftist ideology begets one last scenario, already being contemplated by those willing to ignore the historical track record of appeasing one's enemies:
We allow Iran to join the nuclear club.
G-d help us.
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