Accommodating to the Unthinkable

By lex, on May 3rd, 2010

We’re out of time, according to John Bolton. Out of will, and damn near out of options when it comes to a nuclearized Iran:

There are only two options: Iran gets nuclear weapons, or someone uses pre-emptive military force to break Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle and paralyze its program, at least temporarily.

There is no possibility the Obama administration will use force, despite its confused and ever-changing formulation about the military option always being “on the table.” That leaves Israel, which the administration is implicitly threatening not to resupply with airplanes and weapons lost in attacking Iran—thereby rendering Israel vulnerable to potential retaliation from Hezbollah and Hamas.

It is hard to conclude anything except that the Obama administration is resigned to Iran possessing nuclear weapons. While U.S. policy makers will not welcome that outcome, they certainly hope as a corollary that Iran can be contained and deterred. Since they have ruled out the only immediate alternative, military force, they are doubtless now busy preparing to make lemonade out of this pile of lemons.

I’m not one to play the blame game: I don’t really know whether it was mismanagement by SEC lawyers too busy watching porn to catch the financial industry before it stumbled, or whether it was rent seeking by well-intentioned congressmen so anxious to use the levers of power for social purposes that they undermined the real economy. It might have been greedy financiers looking at the next quarter’s results and year-end bonuses. It might have been regular folks who just ought to have known better. It’s hard to lay the blame for any of our current economic woes on any one seat, although temptations abound.

If Afghanistan or even the nascent Iraqi vision goes south, I wouldn’t blame that on President Obama – he inherited a hand of cards that he has played as well as he could, given his sensitivities.

But the Iranian nuclear issue is right here, right now. The president has had 15 months to lay his hands on US policy on this issue, and instead spent his time fiddling with Europe and the UN, tying our fate and that of our closest allies to those whose interests do not align with our own. He famously reached out an open hand only to have it bitten showing weakness when resolve was called for.

Bush was widely derided for being a cowboy, and Obama has gone to great lengths to be the anti-Bush. But the actual world can be a wild and woolly place. Sometimes you have to cowboy up.

If this happens?

It’s on him.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Iran, Lex

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