While the US has been pre-occupied with its mis-adventure in Iraq, Iran has been steadily working away on their nuclear program, threatening the very stability and continued existence of the Middle East. What is highly confusing is Washington’s soft stance on the issue of Iranian nuclear procurement — the Bush administration has basically left most tough negotiations with Iran to European powers — Germany, UK, and France. For a group of leaders so concerned with the spread of WMD and not afraid to unleash a cowboy-like mentality on the global stage in order to meet such a supposed threat, this is indeed puzzling. After all, Iraq did not have WMDs, yet Bush himself now states that Hussein’s intention to obtain nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons was enough to justify military action. Well, now it is plainly obvious Iran actually has a nuclear capability and has no intention of abandoning it:
Germany, France and the UK have drawn up a deadline of November for Iran to abandon all parts of the atomic fuel cycle, particularly uranium enrichment.
The proposal is due to be raised at a meeting of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Monday.
The Iranian foreign ministry said the idea was “out of the question”.
“If the Europeans and the international community want assurances that nuclear technology will be for peaceful purposes, we are ready to give assurances,” ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran.
“But if the issue is that we cannot master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, that is out of the question because we have already reached that point.”
So, under Bush’s pre-emption mentality, Iran becomes an obvious target. And an attack has not yet been ruled out:
President George W. Bush’s top official on nuclear on-proliferation, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, was asked during a brief visit to Israel if the United States could consider such an attack.
“President Bush is determined to try and find a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the problem of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he said. “But we are determined that they are not going to achieve a nuclear weapons capability.”
Yet, this does seem rather docile coming from an administration that had no time to wait on inspectors and the world community before it opened fire in Iraq. Simply put, Bush et all have overextended themselves and overtaxed their goodwill worldwide. The one time when a strong response is required and pressure paramount, the US is unable to muster either. A unilateral position accompanied by military action is not needed, although strong leadership is — however, after Iraq the United States is no longer in a position to be that strong leader. Iran has achieved a window of opportunity in a global leadership vacuum, courtesy of the Bush administration.