Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How Much Longer Will The Lessons Be Free?

No matter how hard we try the diplomacy/economic sanctions route, the Iranian mullahgarchy seems to have no difficulty maintaining their influx of raw materials for their nuclear weapons program. And one (seemingly) unignorable reason is that they're getting increasingly conspicuous help:
A deal involving industrial equipment attracted the attention of prosecutors and customs investigators to S., who has been doing business in German for more than a decade. The electromagnetic brakes, switchgear, spring elements and special cables that the 46-year-old businessman bought up in Germany between 2001 and 2004 were bound for the Iranian nuclear power plant in Bushehr - a central project in the nuclear program of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ...

The case's true political explosiveness lies in the structure of the business relationships it involved. The Potsdam prosecutors now believe that they can prove that Dmitry S. and his now-liquidated Berlin company, Vero Handels GmbH, were involved in the acquisition of illegal material from Germany on behalf of the partially state-controlled Russian nuclear company Atomstroiexport (ASE) - material intended for export to Iran. "It looks as if Putin's nuclear firm deliberately violated German law," says one investigator.
The Admiral notes that this is far from the first time that ASE has redirected nuclear-applicable materials and equipment to the place they weren't supposed to go. But what jumps out at me from his comments is this passage:
The efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program have relied on diplomatic and economic isolation rather than war on the belief that Western nations would act in concert to deny Iran the necessary resources for its nuclear program. A failure in credibility would not only potentially limit technology transfers to Germany in the future, it could mean war in Iran. [emphasis added]
Time for another list:

1) What in Frigg's name could possibly convince any American policymaker that the same Western "diplomatic and economic isolation" strategy that failed so spectacularly in "containing" Saddam Hussein and his WMD ambitions would work on the mullahs, up whose asses the West has crawled even further, if possible?

2) Western nations haven't opted for endless diplonomic dithering out of a belief that it would actually succeed in disarming Tehran; they've done so because they're not willing to face reality.

3) And that reality is that we're already at war with Iran and have been for three decades - not unlike how we were at war with al Qaeda throughout the Clinton years - but simply refuse to engage, and will persist in that refusal until, like al Qaeda did on 9/11/01, the mullahs take that comforting delusion away from us.

Why is it that we repeatedly have to be overtaken by disaster before we finally acknowledge the inevitability of war? I had hopes that with the advent of the Bush Doctrine back in 2002, we had finally left that foolishness behind. In an age where another Pearl Harbor can be an American city disappearing beneath a mushroom cloud, we simply do not have the luxury of letting our enemies attack first and hoping for the best.

That window of acuity has, sadly, been closed with a vengeance. And thus history will have to repeat itself yet again, and all we can do is pray that the price of the lesson doesn't have to grow grotesquely prohibitive before somebody in the Beltway starts giving it heed.

Oh, and Vlad Putin the finger - diplomatically, of course.