William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SPEAKING OF THREATS – AT 9:50 A.M. ET:   We are averting our eyes from the most serious current international threat, Iran's nuclear program.  Like most foreign-policy challenges, it's being back-burnered in favor of Obama's domestic "let's fundamentally change America" initiatives.

But an Iran expert has a warning for us:

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — A leading academic says there’s not much more the world can do to sanction Iran, and that such penalties could drive Tehran to take radical action.

The regime of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activity “really has reached its end,” Vali Nasr, dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He said that unless there is a diplomatic breakthrough — or, alternatively, an attack on Iran — “you really are looking at a scenario where Iran is going to rush very quickly towards nuclear power, because they also think, like North Korea, that (then) you have much more leverage to get rid of these sanctions.”

COMMENT:  Very interesting scenario.  The Iranians would rush toward a nuclear bomb to get rid of the sanctions that were designed to prevent them from getting the bomb in the first place.  Makes sense to me.  

There are reports this morning that diplomats dealing with Iran are becoming increasingly disgusted with Tehran's stalling tactics.  The latest rumor is that Iran will propose Egypt as the site of the "next" nuclear talks...talks that seem forever delayed.

With each day, Iran moves toward the bomb.  Obama says he will never let the Iranians have that weapon.  But nothing we do seems to be stopping it.  And with John Kerry and Chuck Hagel coming into office, Obama seems to be signaling a weakening of American resolve, not a strengthening. 

We're left wondering whether the American plan is simply to let Iran get the bomb, then say we're faced with a new situation that we must "manage."  That's pretty much what we've done with North Korea, with no positive result.

January 24, 2013