Thursday, November 20, 2008

NYT Sources: Iran Has Enough Material for One Nuclear Bomb

It appears that there is now credible evidence that Iran has produced enough weapons-grade material to build one weapon, as reported by the New York Times on Wednesday.

This is something that I wrote about last month, by way of a story run by Israel's DebkaFile.  That piece was focused mainly on the proximity of intelligence details about Iran's nuclear capability to the tough-talking remarks of now-Vice President-elect Joe Biden at a Seattle fundraiser.  I did, however, I pose several key questions that President-elect Obama will need to answer to the American people in order to devise a response to an Iranian threat that does not a) conflict with any current doctrine, or with a doctrine he wishes to set or b) destabilize the region or kick off a wider conflict.  The questions I posed, relevant to the Iranian issue, were:

    • How do you see our relationship with Russia, considering Russia's recent strengthening of ties with our enemies in key areas of the world?
    • What will be your criteria for determining when and how to apply the force of the US military?

Russian involvement (and to a lesser extent the participation of France and Germany) will be a key factor in what courses of action are available to the United States in dealing with any existential threat posed by Iran.  Iran's insistence on possessing a nuclear weapon demonstrates its desire to become a dominant Middle Eastern state, and we cannot rule out the possibility of an attack on Israel.  At this point, whatever country would come the aid of Israel may find themselves engaged with Russia, due to mutual defense agreements.

This writer is glad that attention is being drawn to this issue, but I fear that the die may have been cast.  With the current state of international affairs, it would be rash to place Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as head of the State Department, in what is a vanity posting designed to appease party big wigs.  Direct experience in foreign affairs and high stakes diplomacy is required to navigate the coming crisis and despite Ms. Clinton's undeniable savvy and intellect, she would not be the right person for this task.


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