Friday, January 13, 2006

We Are the World

The Moose wonders whether the faith in the international community is warranted.

Many have criticized the Bush Administration for its failure to gain international support in the war against terrorism. Some of this criticism is certainly justified and well taken. However, multi-lateralism should not become a fetish. The likes of the French, Russians and the Chinese (and much worse) also are among members in "good standing" of the international community, and they are not always responsible actors.

This brings us to the case of Iran. The big news is that Iranians have once again flaunted the wishes of the international community in the pursuit of a nuke. However, it is old news that the Mullahs of Teheran have contempt for international opinion.

And why should they worry? The Russians and Chinese are arming them to the teeth. Do the Iranians actually fear international sanctions when nations are making big bucks off the mullahs and swimming in their oil?

And at the end of the day, to put it bluntly, does the international community really care about the fate of a Jewish state? Sure, if it was eliminated, there would be a slew of memorials and observances. Chirac would sit shiva. Kofi Annan would express profound regret. Spielberg would produce a provocative and even-handed movie condemning Israel's violent retaliation which only perpetuated the cycle of violence.

Fortunately, Israel will not cooperate with such scenario.

And what of the Bush Administration? Does it really believe that the international community will respond to this crisis? Does it really have a default strategy if the EU and the UN don't deliver? When does it begin a crash program of energy independence?

Are the Iranians shaking in their boots at the prospect of the issue being referred to the Security Council? Apparently not,

"Iran threatened on Friday to end all voluntary cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog if it is referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions over its controversial nuclear program."

This could really elicit the ire of Koffi Annan. However, as late as last night, Annan was in a conciliatory frame of mind,

"The possibility of more negotiations with Iran, perhaps soon, was raised again, however, by the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, who said Thursday evening that he had spoken earlier in the day to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, to head off a looming confrontation.

"Iran was still interested in "serious and constructive negotiations," Mr. Annan said, adding that the only viable solution to the dispute with Iran was "a negotiated one."

Teheran can read the weakness of appeasement just as well as the Nazis of the thirties. Yet, there is no great sense of crisis in the "world community" as it takes solace in the hope and assumption that Iran is years away from obtaining the big one and that "there are no realistic military options" in the words of New York Times editorial.

However, urgency may be in order. Iran may very well be in a position to begin producing a nuke earlier than many think. The New York Times,

"But Israeli officials are worried that politicians in the United States and Europe are focusing on estimates of when Iran might actually have a bomb - rather than concentrating on the "point of no return," perhaps within the next year, when they argue Iran may gain enough technical knowledge to make the fissile material needed for a weapon. After that point, in the Israeli view, it is simply a matter of time until Iran is nuclear-armed."

The Wall Street Journal editorialized on Wednesday,

"It should not be Israel's lot to safeguard the security of the West in the face of a common threat, as it did when it destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981. But if we're going to avoid this grim scenario, both Europe and the U.S. need to threaten, and apply, stiffer penalties against Iran than they have suggested so far. As we learned in dealing with Saddam Hussein, so too with Mr. Ahmadinejad: Eventually, there's a price to be paid for trafficking in unserious consequences. The only question is, paid by whom?"

Perhaps, the Moose is unfair. Maybe, the world will get serious with a country that may soon posses nukes and is governed by a messianic madman who does not hide his ambition to wipe the Jewish state off the map. Yet, somehow the Moose believes that the leaders in most of the world capitals don't lose much sleep about the fate of "a bunch of Zionists and the occupiers of Arab lands." Just in case, the America's political class should prepare options if an alternative "go it alone" course may be necessary.

There is a gathering storm...
-- Posted at 8:20 AM | Link to this post | Email this post