Former UN ambassador John Bolton has written a scathing article that is a cold shower for people who prefer to ignore politics, history, and the world’s current course. It’s informative and worth reading, but doesn’t leave a lot of room for debate. That’s not Bolton’s fault though. It’s the fault of Iran, the UN, and the people who have destroyed international deterrence.
This weekend, yet another “deadline” passed for Iran to indicate it was seriously ready to discuss ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Like so many other deadlines during these five years of European-led negotiations, this one died quietly, with Brussels diplomats saying that no one seriously expected any real work on a Saturday.
The fact that the Europeans are right — this latest deadline is not fundamentally big news — is precisely the problem with their negotiations, and the Bush administration’s acquiescence in that effort.
Iran is pursuing two goals simultaneously, both of which it is comfortably close to achieving. The first — to possess all the capabilities necessary for a deliverable nuclear weapon — is now almost certainly impossible to stop diplomatically. Thus, Iran’s second objective becomes critical: to make the risks of a military strike against its program too high, and to make the likelihood of success in fracturing the program too low. Time favors Iran in achieving these goals. U.S. and European diplomats should consider this while waiting by the telephone for Iran to call.
How did it come to this?