Monday, November 21, 2011

Is Iran Building Nuclear Weapons?


Iranian Worker at a Nuclear Facility.

   The US is rapidly moving towards sanctions against Iran, a rogue nation state that the US suspects of developing nuclear weapons.  The Village Elliot does not think too much of the Iranian government, which is run by a fanatical religious council with an outrageous nutcase occupying the Presidency.   There is nothing about the Iranian government that would make us comfortable about their peaceful intentions.

     However, the US doesn't always get its facts straight.       Some 10 years ago, there was a national debate as to whether Saddam Hussein was building nuclear ICBM's to threaten the United States, or possibly some kind of nerve gas weapons.  Almost everyone, from the man in the street to Hillary Clinton to President Bush, believed that in fact Saddam was probably seeking to build nuclear weapons.  UN Inspector Hans Blix was widely believed to be a dupe of Saddam, for he failed to agree with our "irrefutable proof" that Saddam was going nuclear, or if not, was certainly going to build nerve gas weapons.  
     The problem we had then is that we believed in the "James Bond style bad guy," in which a superweapon could be built by a very small group of people. 
    In reality, a nuclear weapons system requires the cooperation of a significant military organization that needs to be trained in how to use the weapon in combat.  The weapons system needs to be built by a major billion-dollar organization with dedicated facilities for operation and testing of the weapons system.  To use an analogy, you couldn't build a secret jet fighter without a major facility and organization to build the fighters, and then you need an Air Force to fly them.  Similarly, there needs to be a weapons system and trained military personnel that know how to use the weapon, or otherwise it is not real. We never had that kind of information about Iraq.
    In Iran, we have hard evidence that the Iranians don't much care for compliance with Western demands for accountability.  That in itself doesn't mean they are really developing a nuclear weapon.  In fact every time Ahmadinejad talks about nuclear activities, the price of oil goes up by $5 per barrel.  So the Iranians are basically rewarded for being a destabilizing influence.
    The Obama administration, aided and abetted by Secretary of State Clinton, believes in an activist policy in Muslim countries, in which we support opposition movements within countries such as Fghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya and now Iran.  We have embraced the notion that the US needs to get involved in tribal politics in these countries.  But before we accept the new gospel of interventionism, I want to know what evidence they have that there is a nuclear weapons effort in Iran. Do we know where the centrifuge facilities are, and where the nuclear weapons will be assembled and tested, and what military organizations are being trained to use nuclear weapons?
    Iran is not a military threat to us at this point.  They have one giant oil refinery there, and we could take it out if we got sufficiently pissed off.  The main reason for not doing that is we wouldn't want to take the time and expense to rebuild the durn thing.  But I think some quiet diplomacy might help the Iranians to realize how much of their country will remain standing should they elect to proceed to the point of testing a nuclear weapon.  
   All this business about economic sanctions, etc., is kind of lame.  My view is that the oil they produce will be sold somewhere, and if America doesn't buy Iranian oil, they really won't care that much.  In fact the likely outcome is that a boycott would cause the price of crude oil to soar, and Iran should profit nicely from that, to the tune of billions of Americn dollars.  Ahmadinejad will probably send Hillary and Barack a very nice thank you letter. 
   In the meantime, the Obama administration continues to scoff at the need to produce our own oil.  The more we decrease our  own capabilities to produce oil, the better we feel about not contributing to global warming.  We are very comfortable about being dependent on foreign oil, and in fact we are taking direct actions to increase imports and to decrease American jobs.  The hope is that soon all sorts of wonderful "green jobs" will automatically kick in.  Unfortunately, the Village Elliot believes that plan is just as nutty as Ahmadinejad.
    Our lack of willingness to produce our own energy is going to cost us dearly.  But the most substantial problem is that we are too dumb to outwit Ahmadinejad, and the net result of our boycott plan is that we are going to pay more for imported oil, and make the Iranians richer.  


1 comment:

  1. As President Bush might ask, "Is our politicians learning?"