Monday, September 28, 2009

Has Iran Stopped Beating Its Wife Yet?

The world is witnessing a contest to see who can act more stupidly: the Iranians or us. The sides are evenly matched. Iran has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a president and we have Hillary Clinton for a Secretary of State. Hillary doesn’t seem to know a nuclear weapon from a nuclear reactor; Ahmadinejad doesn’t seem to know his sitting part from his elbow.

The sound and fury over Iran’s supposedly “secret reactor” has shut of the oxygen flow to the logic of the upcoming UN 5+1 powers (U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany) with Iran on a variety of issues, but mainly about Iran’s nuclear program, which Iran says is only for peaceful, energy purposes. Ahmadinejad’s most recent holocaust denial was hardly the sort of thing to inspire confidence in Iran’s claims that it has no interest in developing nuclear weapons. Iran’s latest missile tests did little to inspire confidence in its peaceful intentions either. Ballistic missiles don’t pack much punch if they don’t contain something atomic in their nose cones. Bugs and gas and dynamite aren’t worth the trouble of sending to your adversaries via missile. It’s far more cost effective to send those payloads via parcel post.

On the other hand, Iran’s secret reactor at Qom was about as secret as Bill Clinton’s indiscretions. We’ve known about it for years, and that knowledge hasn’t affected our intelligence agencies determination that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. Moreover, Iran revealed the existence of the Qom site to the International Atomic Energy Agency before it was required to.

The narrative gets cloudy. According to an AP report by Pamela Hess, the Obama administration had intended to “confront the Iranians about the secret site later this year, but Tehran's sudden disclosure forced their hand.”

Wait. We were going to expose it later but had to expose it sooner because Iran exposed it sooner than we did? ¡Ay carumba!

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, like presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, lives in mortal fear that the neocons and the rest of the American warmonger will call her an empty pantsuit if she doesn’t talk tough about security every chance she gets. She’s been yacking wacky about Iran for quite a while now, and doesn’t seem ready to stop. One of her latest rants threatened that America would extend its “defense umbrella” across the Middle East to defend its friends from Iran. We’ve had a defense umbrella across the entire planet since the 1950s called nuclear deterrence.

It’s anyone’s guess as to who gulled President Obama into making a federal issue out of the Qom reactor. Maybe he figured he’s sucked up to the Pentagon so much it was time he threw a treat or two to Hillary’s pack. Whatever the case, the mishandling of the Qom reactor non-issue has been an embarrassment that makes us look as fringy-unhingy as Ahmadinejad.

I hope all this sound and fury is taking us where we really need to go with Iran. As I’ve said many times, Iran is not a military threat to its neighbors or to Israel, which is geographically so distant from Iran as to be out of its reach. Iran’s maritime forces might embarrass us in the Gulf if we preemptively attack it for no good reason, but there’s an easy way to avoid that: we don’t attack Iran for no reason.

The proper approach to softening relations with the Iranians is to impress upon them that if they want to be treated like a grown-up nation, they have to act like a grow-up nation. But, as Bill Cosby might say, if we want our children to behave like adults, we have to behave like adults ourselves. Behaving irrationally as the world’s superpower encourages emerging nations like Iran to behave the same way.

Having a nuclear weapons program would paint a bull’s eye on Iran’s back. Iran knows it, and everyone else knows it too. The solution we need from Iran is total transparency of their nuclear program in return for allowing them to have a nuclear program.

Here’s hoping that both Hillary and Ahmadinijad step back from the diplomatic process and let adults handle things.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. "Ahmadinejad doesn’t seem to know his sitting part from his elbow" I didn't know elbows in Iran have ears on either side!

  2. Lavrenti Beria2:33 PM

    "The world is witnessing a contest to see who can act more stupidly: the Iranians or us. The sides are evenly matched."

    Evenly matched? The Iranian President's retaliatory insults about the Holocaust are to be compared to perfectly believable threats of military action by the leaders of the United States, the UK, France and Israel? Gordon Brown and Barak Obama care so much about Ahmadinejad’s personal vision of history - if one can truly believe that his advertised vision of history is the one he actually holds - that they're prepared to start a war over it? You disappoint with this attempt at balance that has no correspondence in the real world, sir. And we both know you can do better than that, eh?

  3. " MI6: Saudis Will Let Israel Bomb Iran Nuclear Site
    British Paper Cites MI6 Chief's Mossad Meeting
    by Jason Ditz, September 27, 2009"

    Yeah, probably not the Saudis either since they look like they are more than willing to let the Israelis stir up more shit between the Sunnis and Shia?

  4. Anonymous6:53 PM


    IMO, this was carefully staged and timed for maximum traction and "gravity." When a note is passed to Gen. Jones on the UN floor and he gets up and walks over to his Russian counterpart and whispers in his ear: "Psst, I've got a secret to tell you," in full view of the world...well you get the idea.

    Cryptic messages and analysis reports are passed through the intel chain everyday; some just have nicer crayon pictures. Ahmadinijad picked the right moment to buoy his standing domestically and to test the world reaction. Things will settle down with some tidy discussions.

    Now we return to our normal programing - health care reform.

    Left Coast

  5. Anonymous6:55 PM

    The US has always been at war with Iran.


  6. Anonymous10:02 PM

    Isn't the Iran fiasco really about oil, US hegemony and the inordinate influence of a small Middle East country over US foreign policy? Why should any American die for those reasons>

  7. Interesting! I absolutely agree with the article. Iran is not a threat if we don't consider it as a threat. The worst thing what could happen is some preventive action from the western countries. The way out is dialog or imposing of sanctions when dialog is not effective. After that I think Iran should change its attitude.

    Best regards,

  8. IMHO - which, I know, isn't really worth a damn -- but here it is:

    The Saudis and the Israelis are playing "how far can we push and still get the billions in aid that we get every year from the U.S.Congress?" And... the Iranians are playing the "how do WE get in on that action?' game.

    Hillary Clinton is hedging her bets for 2012 and beyond... and doesn't want to insult AIPAC.

    Commander, you just thought we put the adults in charge. Regrettably, they hired Emanuel, and Clinton... and let them continue to act like juvenile delinquents.


  9. Anonymous7:52 PM

    Jeff, the thingamabobby at Qom is _not_ a "reactor". It's just an Uranium enrichment plan containing centrifuges (what design? beats me..)

    Scott Ritter had the whole lowdown at the Grauniard:

    Of course, if we knew about all of this "years ago", I would assume that the National Intelligence Estimate saying that Iran was probably not attempting to build nukes etc. factored this in. So nothing has changed at all..

    Best regards,


  10. The only thing saving Iran's bacon is the knowledge of what even a short closure of the Strait of Hormuz could do to world oil markets. If the crazies didn't have that little Sword of Damocles hanging over their pointy heads, I think they would have done it already. Iran's "nuclear ambitions" notwithstanding. Just my two cents, which I hear is actually worth more than cents if you melt the coins for the copper.

    By the way, if anyone is interested here is a pretty good article about where we actually get our oil. I wonder how many Americans know that bad old Vlad Putin sells us nearly a million barrels a day of the stuff? Sort of puts the recent Obama decision over the Polish missiles in a new light, doesn't it? Somebody tell the wingnuts.

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