by Austin Bay
May 18, 2010
Once again, the Obama administration's diplomatic
multilateralism has produced a time-buying victory for Iran in its unilateral
pursuit of nuclear weapons. This means the world is measurably closer to the
day Tehran obtains a deployable nuke.
Remember "smart diplomacy," Barack Obama's 2008
campaign tout, the nifty sound-bite the lapdog media loved? The latest
diplomatic fracas surrounding Turkey and Brazil's negotiating initiative with
Iran certainly isn't "smart," unless you're a punster alluding to the
smarting pain of a hard rap on the wrist.
Nukes in the ayatollahs' arsenal, however, are more than a
slap at President Obama's Ivy League ego. They are an intercontinental
disaster, militarily, diplomatically and -- if you happen to be Israel, Iraq, a
Persian Gulf emirate or Europe -- existentially.
Oh, a bevy of well-spoken toffs will deny that, but these
striped-pants squeaks have a historical record. In 1938, Britain's Neville
Chamberlain, a nattily dressed chap, brought a scrap of paper back from Munich
that promised "peace in our time." Adolf Hitler had assured Neville
peace would reign after the West gave him Czechoslovakia.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, is assuring us
of administration success. This Tuesday she told the Senate -- in a rather
Chamberlainesque triumphal tone -- that in the aftermath of the slippery
Turkish-Brazilian agreement "Russia, China, the U.S., the U.K., France and
Germany ... are proceeding to rally the international community on behalf of a
strong (U.N.) sanctions resolution that will ... send an unmistakable message
about what is expected from Iran."
Yeah. Rally on, international community. Unmistakable this
time. Harsh, effective, game-changing sanctions are at hand. All but at hand.
Coming soon to Planet Earth ...
Is the would-be watershed agreement Clinton extolled a
seamless, nuke-stopping embargo? That may depend on how you read the words of
China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Yang said he found the Iranian nuclear
material swap arrangement negotiated by Turkey and Brazil to be encouraging.
The Chinese diplomat backs Clinton's Senate certainty with murky tea leaves
that could signal China believes yet another diplomatic option exists for Iran.
Yang certainly gives China diplomatic options. Beijing wants
Turkey to curtail support for Turkic Uighur rebels in China's Xinjiang
province. Turkey could read Clinton's Senate statement as a stinging rebuff of
its multilateral efforts, or as a sellout, since Turkish diplomats claim senior
U.S. officials (including Clinton) were in "constant contact" during
negotiations with Iran. China thus positions itself to gain political advantage
with Turkey and Brazil at American expense.
Despite Clinton's rousing testimony, what we have is
diplomatic uncertainty if not chaos, and so time passes.
Uncertainty and chaos suit Tehran. For over a decade,
Tehran's Khomeinist regime has pursued a policy of strategic delay, buying time
to acquire what it regards as a make-or-break strategic technological edge: nuclear
weapons. Nukes forward the regime's long-term strategic goal -- establishing
Iran as an Islamic revolutionary power with global reach. Definitely grandiose,
but the goal is a legacy of the Ayatollah Khomeini himself. The regime also
believes brandishing nuclear warheads will buck up domestic political support
by appealing to Iranian nationalism.
Since early 2009, the Obama administration has pursued a
policy of multilateral engagement, with the goal of building international
support for rigorous economic and political sanctions. Obama-type international
multilateralism vis a vis Iran, however,
has proved to be an unfocused amalgam of superficial processes.
Why? From the start, President Obama offered concessions,
not focused leadership, in part because his own administration is riddled with
multiculturalists from the academic left who think American power and strong,
forceful American leadership are the source of the world's most wicked
When Iranian dissidents began demonstrating in the wake of
the fraudulent elections of June 2009, Obama had the opportunity to make time
the enemy of Tehran's ayatollahs. He failed, however, to support Iranian
modernizers and remains hesitant to use the truly powerful diplomatic tool of
promoting democracy. Obama's preference for finger-wagging and strongly worded
memos may command gray-haired profs with ponytails, but in the international
arena his performance is kindergarten theatrics.
The Obama administration must change and provide real
leadership by preparing for regime-ending military action, not just a nuclear
program knockout. Until it does, the mullahs continue to play these
self-proclaimed smart diplomats for the dummies they are.