Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

France done with Iran?

That's the gist of the statement Captain Ed picked up from the Telegraph today and judging from the words of the new foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, one can get the same impression:

The world should "prepare for war" with Iran, the French foreign minister has said, significantly escalating tensions over the country's nuclear programme.

Bernard Kouchner said that while "we must negotiate right to the end" with Iran, if Teheran possessed an atomic weapon it would represent "a real danger for the whole world".

The world should "prepare for the worst... which is war", he said.

His comments came after Washington reminded Teheran that "all options were on the table" in confronting its nuclear policy, which many officials in the West believe has the ultimate aim of arming a nuclear warhead, despite Iran's claim that it is for civilian purposes.

The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany, are due to meet to discuss a new draft UN resolution on sanctions against Iran later this week in Washington.

So far proposals for tough sanctions have been resisted by Russia and China, while Teheran has ignored UN deadlines to stop enriching uranium, insisting its nuclear activity is for peaceful purposes only.

Amid unconfirmed reports that the US is drawing up plans to attack Iran's nuclear installations, Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, said that diplomacy remained the administration's preferred approach.

Asked if President George W Bush would consult Congress before launching any strikes on Iran, Mr Gates said he would not be drawn on "hypotheticals".

But he added: "We always say all options are on the table.

"But clearly, the diplomatic and economic approach is the one we're pursuing."

Diplomatic and economic sanctions would be good provided they have the teeth to back them up. No teeth means that Iran is going to continue along it's merry way towards a nuclear weapon. I don't care what they say their program is for. It's bogus. It's a lie, and until they open themselves up to full inspections at ALL their sites, the world will continue to believe that. Add the recent Israeli airstrike on Syria over suspected nuclear components, and it's no wonder why some nations in the world are believing that Iran's program is anything but peaceful.

For our critics, this isn't a "neo-con" approach. It's critical thinking, and given Iran's refusal to comply and play ball in the international arena, nothing else can be derived other than the supposition that nukes are being worked on.

As for Secretary Gates and his "hypotheticals," there is no reason to lie about this. We have battle plans drawn up for virtually every nation on the face of the planet, including Canada and Mexico. That's what analysts do, at times; they wargame scenarios that are hostile to the nation. We are wargaming strategies and scenarios out on Iran just in case we need to take action. It's better to have a plan in hand and watch it go to Hell when the shooting starts than it is to have no plan at all.

As for the French, this is an interesting turn, and it seems that they are the lone nation in Europe rattling the sabers. I concur with Captain Ed: It will be most interesting to see how the EU handles this change in policy from a nation that used to be seen as a pacifist. One thing the EU should remember is that elections change outlooks and policy.

The problem lies in Europe and the UN. Germany has stated to the US that they can't keep playing the sanctions game because it's hurting them economically. Russia and China -- the two key holdouts in the last round of sanctions -- are still quite unwilling to back any sort of sanctions that might actually have force behind them, nor do they appear willing to impose sanctions that could put Teheran's economy where North Korea's is right now, which is on the verge of collapse. When they meet this week for another round of debate and arguing over sanctions, I'm not holding my breath that much will be accomplished. Even John Bolton agreed that the last round of sanctions on Iran were a joke.

Publius II


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