Hillary's Gunboat Diplomacy with Iran
April 5, 2012
U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rattled her saber, warning Tehran that the window for diplomacy was rapidly closing. For months, the conservative government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prepared to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites, forcing the U.S. to step up diplomatic and economic pressure. Western powers, including Russia, are expected to meet in Istanbul April 14 for a last ditch attempt to get Iran to stop enriching uranium. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad have emphatically defends Iran’s rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Recent discoveries of Iran’s underground nuclear enrichment site at the holy city of Qom dispelled any illusion about scaling back enrichment activities to placate growing international demands.
Iranian politics play up the nuclear enrichment program as a means of resisting what Iran calls the “bullying nations,” trying to stop Iran from completing the nuclear fuel cycle. While Iran claims its atomic programs are for purely peaceful purposes, namely, producing electric power and creating radioactive medical isotopes, Western powers believe Tehran is trying to weaponize uranium. Saying the “window of opportunity” for a peaceful resolution “will not remain open forever,” Clinton sent a loud message to Tehran that the U.S. means business when it comes to preventing nuclear weapons development. “We’re going in with one intention, to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” Clinton told foreign ministers at a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Hillary has a real problem convincing Russia and China to go along.
Threatening Iran hasn’t worked in the past, only galvanizing the great Iranian national goal of enriching uranium. When Hillary talks about the diplomacy window closing, she’s referring to a potential timetable to war. While she can’t speak for Israel, she does speak for the Obama administration. “Our policy is one of prevention, not containment. We are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” said Hillary, practically guaranteeing to Iran that the U.S. or Israel would be on the attack if Iran fails to cease-and-desist. Before the White House commits in any direction, it should consider the toll on the U.S. military and the economy. Recent ballistic episode by a U.S. Marine, massacring Afghan civilians, displays the toll taken on troops from multiple deployments. War with Iran would have far-flung consequences on the U.S. and world economies.
Obama announced last Friday that he would move forward with sanctions to prevent Iran from selling oil on world markets. Ahmadinejad has stated openly that if the U.S. messes with Iran’s livelihood, all bets are off in the Persian Gulf. Barack hopes to convince Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to up their petroleum production to offset the loss of Persian oil. When the U.S. and Israel rattled sabers in January, the price of gasoline worldwide rocketed up about 20%. More saber-rattling now won’t help the price of crude oil or its refined products. Any military action in the Gulf would send oil and gas prices skyrocketing, damaging the U.S. and global economies. With the U.S. struggling to pays its bills with whopping trillion-plus dollar deficits, any new military adventure could bust the current U.S. budget. Hillary’s warnings carry big risks for the U.S. military and economy.
Hillary must know that telegraphing her government’s war-and-peace plans carries big risks for U.S. military and economy. Before she commits to anything, she’d better figure out the human and financial toll to bombing Iran’s uranium enrichment sites. When she talks about her international partners, she’s not including Russia and China, both opposed to current U.N. sanction and any military action. Alienating Russia and China turns back the clock on U.S. relations with key political and economic partners. Despite the flurry of past reports suggesting Iran is dangerously close to the bomb, more recent reports indicate they may be years away, if ever. While Israel insists Iran is dangerously close to a nuclear device, more recent reports give a very different picture. No U.S. administration can afford to make the same mistake again—going to war without a real threat to U.S. national security.
Hillary’s warning s to Iran will likely lead to more stiff resistance to abandoning its uranium enrichment program. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has staked his power on the nuclear program that, according to Western sources, seeks to build atomic bombs. Telegraphing U.S. intent, the secretary of state has communicated in no uncertain terms that the White House is prepared for military action if Iran doesn’t give up its nuclear ambitions. Whether she is bluffing or not, it’s not wise to tell the Iranians what the U.S. might do in the way of actions, either militarily or diplomatically. Working through international partners, the U.S. would have more leverage letting someone else do the talking. Having just recently ended the Iraq War and now prepping to get out of Afghanistan, Hillary must show more restraint before promising to open up the next battlefront.
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