Below are some moving scenes from President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima Friday.
He didn’t apologize, although his very presence suggested something of a mea culpa. But unfortunately, his visit inadvertently revealed the passivity of his approach to nuclear weapons.
Obama called for the world to look within itself and achieve some kind of advanced thinking that will cause it to reject nuclear weapons. He asked for, “A future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not for the bomb of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”
Fat chance. History doesn’t teach that waiting for humans to ascend to some moral plane that the Obamas of the world think they inhabit is a good way to grapple with danger. Obama has bet our future on the notion that the Iranians will cast aside their religious fanaticism and, with it, the nuclear weapons that he has permitted them to have. That won’t happen. Like George W. Bush before him, Obama thinks others want the same things we want. They don’t.
By failing to take forceful action against Iran – yes, even through war as a last resort – to prevent the Mullahbomb, Obama has placed future generations of Americans in mortal danger. These fanatics will build their weapons, and their missiles, and one day either use them or give them to someone else who will. Feel-good moments in Hiroshima notwithstanding.
Ah, such a dangerous world. And growing so much more dangerous under this president.
As anybody who isn’t fooling themselves is aware, the Iran deal is a recipe for an Iranian Mullahbomb, albeit after either a period of 10-15 years of good behavior, or bad behavior accompanied by artful sneakiness.
President Obama himself has said that in the latter years of the agreement – even under the U.S. understanding of it, which is not the same as the Iranian understanding – the breakout time to an Iranian nuke would plummet “almost down to zero.”
Yahh, the White House tried to walk it back, but thadeezwadeesed.
I don’t know if the world is going to survive such nuclear proliferation. Neither did previous administrations, who adhered to a no-nuclear-program policy for Iran and other dangerous countries, which Obama has jettisoned.
North Korea is the exception. Both Bush and Clinton failed here, but it was at least a little more understandable. An attack on North Korea could have meant the annihilation of Seoul.
A report in a Wall Street Journal today by missile defense expert Henry Cooper and electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attack specialist Peter Vincent Fry brought home just how dangerous letting the nuclear genie out of the lamp has become.
North Korea now has nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles. Intercontinental, get it? West Coast.
Although highly inaccurate, the missiles could be used for a high-altitude EMP attack over the United States in space, which is hard to miss. This would not be pretty:
An EMP strike, most likely from the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space, would destroy unprotected military and civilian electronics nationwide, blacking out the electric grid and other critical infrastructure for months or years. The staggering human cost of such a catastrophic attack is not difficult to imagine.
Get ready for Baltimore on steroids.
Iran, of course, is also working on long-range missiles.
What is your president doing to protect you against these inevitable threats? Not enough, of course. They write:
President Obama has not acted on the EMP Commission’s draft executive order to protect national infrastructure that is essential to provide for the common defense. Hardening the national electric grid would cost a few billion dollars, a trivial amount compared with the loss of electricity and lives following an EMP attack. The U.S. also should deploy one of its existing transportable radars in the Philippines to help the ground-based interceptors at California’s Vandenberg Air Force defend the country against an attack from the south.
Congress hasn’t been doing much better, but presidential leadership and commitment could perhaps overcome congressional inertia.
Congress also has failed to act on the plans of its own EMP commission to protect the electric grid and other civilian infrastructure that depends on a viable electric grid—such as communications, transportation, banking—that are essential to the economy. In recent years, the GRID Act, the Shield Act, and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act have gained bipartisan and even unanimous support in the House, yet they died in the Senate.
With the federal government AWOL, some states are taking matters into their own hands to prepare for an attack. But the analogy the authors draw is not comforting:
When ancient Rome could no longer protect its empire from barbarians, cities tried to protect themselves by building walls. Now Washington, unable or unwilling to protect its people, is making it necessary for states to build their own defenses against the electromagnetic-pulse barbarians of the 21st century.
Rome is burning. The emperor is not just fiddling, but using his bow to baste on some kerosene. These are deadly serious matters. I fear for this country.
That President Obama made reducing the U.S. nuclear stockpile even further the centerpiece of his Berlin speech is strange on a number of fronts.
First of all, as Charles Krauthammer notes below, who cares? The world is faced with so many much more pressing problems than some throwback issue to the Eighties.
But worse, how does it make us more secure to shed hundreds more warheads from the stockpile of around 1,500 that will remain after the New START treaty is implemented? It doesn’t make the world any less likely to blow up or reduce our ability to do it.
What it does, however, is decrease our allies’ assurance that they are protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella and will continue to be shielded in the future.
Rather than move us closer to a nuclear-free planet, further reductions in the U.S. stockpile give allies cause to beef up their own caches of nuclear weapons, or start a program in the first place. And it suggests to enemies that they may be able to move ahead of us one day, a triumph that would give them an aura of parity with or even superiority to the United States.
The latest proposal ultimately stems from ideas Obama probably hatched while listening to Bob Dylan in his dorm room back when the Nuclear Freeze was the big thing. And it makes as much sense as some of Dylan’s lyrics.
Sorry, I’m a Dylan fan myself. But you have to admit you often have no idea what he’s talking about.
If you want to have some idea what the world will look like once Iran gets nuclear weapons, have a look-see below. It’s our friend Kim Jong-Il, the Dear Leader, or his son, Baby Jerk, lobbing bombs at South Koreans on an island near the border.
So far, two South Korean soldiers have been killed, and more than a dozen soldier injured, along with a few civilians. The North Koreans can do this, because they have nuclear weapons. Here is why they have nuclear weapons:
That’s right, it was this guy who negotiated the “Agreed Framework” with North Korea in 1994 that gave them the cover to develop their uranium enrichment program.
So now North Korea gets to blow up South Korean ships – as they did in March, killing 46 sailors – and attack South Korean islands with impunity. Because there ain’t much we can do about it. Oh wait, maybe there are a few things.
This morning, President Obama sicked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the North Koreans. This is what Gibbs said.
Earlier today North Korea conducted an artillery attack against the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. We are in close and continuing contact with our Korean allies.
The United States strongly condemns this attack and calls on North Korea to halt its belligerent action and to fully abide by the terms of the Armistice Agreement.
The United States is firmly committed to the defense of our ally, the Republic of Korea, and to the maintenance of regional peace and stability.
Oh boy, that will put it stop to it.
Sanctions may work, but only until the worsening situation brings everyone back to the negotiating table, some kind of agreement is reached, North Korea gets more money, and then a few years later the Kim family is discovered to be – SHOCKING – violating the agreement once again.
Which bring us to Iran. The Obama administration is arguing that sanctions must do the job, and that a military strike will only set the Iranians back two or three years and by the way unite the country against us.
Now, how we know anything about what will happen in Iran after a military strike other than the at least temporary – and perhaps permanent – end to their nuclear program, I do not know. For all we know, the mullahs will say, “the Hell with this,” send Ahmadinejad on vacation to Waziristan, and end the nuclear weapons quest.
I’d like to know of one place where sanctions have put an end to a country’s quest for nuclear weapons. I can name you several examples of where military action – or the serious threat of it, which is what we had going in North Korea in 1994 before Bill Clinton pussied out and sent in Jimmy Carter – has stopped countries from obtaining nuclear weapons.
1. Cuba, 1962 – John F. Kennedy blockaded the place and prepared to invade from Florida, forcing the Russians to cease their effort to place weapons on the island.
2. Iraq, 1981 – Israel bombs to pieces the Osiraq reactor.
3. Lybia, 2003 – Colonel Qadaffi craps in his pants after George W. Bush invades Iraq, and scraps his weapons program.
4. Syria, 2007 – Israel bombs to pieces the Al Kibar reactor, which was being assembled with North Korea’s help.
Sure, let’s give sanctions on Iran a little more time – you never know, afterall. But in the end, there will be only one choice if we want to prevent a radical, insane, Islamist, Holocaust-denying but Holocaust-threatening country from acting with impunity around the world.
We are going to have to bomb it.
But will Obama bomb Iran? Of course not. The Israelis will have to do it, which means the mission will not be executed as well as it could be, or will be a failure.
President Obama entered the White House without experience of any kind that would normally qualify one for the most important job in the world. He chose a Secretary of State who fulfilled his wish to assemble a Lincolnesque “team of rivals” in his Cabinet, who was applauded by the Washington congnoscenti as an inspired choice, and who had little knowledge of foreign policy.
You wouldn’t let your dog be groomed by someone with no experience, but the country and your children’s futures are in the hands of people with no experience.
So what we get is a learning curve. Like we had with Jimmy Carter, another supposedly super-bright leader who made the following incredible statement after Russia invaded Afghanistan.
This action of the Soviets has made a more dramatic change in my own opinion of what the Soviets’ ultimate goals are than anything they’ve done in the previous time I’ve been in office.
Obama and Mrs. Clinton also believe that all the world is a village and we are merely another player in it. Bush went too far with unilateralism, but he understood at least that it is the job of the United States, as planet earth’s main force for good, to keep the evildoers in line. Europe is good, but it self-neutered long ago and can’t do much more than bitch from the sidelines.
Remember this by Obama in 2008?
I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.
This, by our supposed philospher-king, is what’s known as a an argument with an internal contradiction. In this case, you cannot believe you are above and better than all others if you also believe that others also are better than all others, which is what he’s suggesting. It’s as if the queen said, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” And the Mirror said, “You are, but other mirrors tell their owners that they are.” What’s the point?
So as Obama and Hillary learn that “OMG, there are not-nice people out there” and that only we can deal with them, what we get is a world in the meantime churning along with scattered evildoers increasingly emboldened to do us harm, whether on the economic or the military front.
In a must-read piece today in the Wall Street Journal, “Obama’s Air Guitar,” Columnist Bret Stephens notes a few happenings around the globe.
Beijing provokes clashes with the navies of both Indonesia and Japan as part of a bid to claim the South China Sea. Tokyo is in a serious diplomatic row with Russia over the South Kuril islands, a leftover dispute from 1945. There are credible fears that Tehran and Damascus will use the anticipated indictment of Hezbollah figures by a U.N. tribunal to overthrow the elected Lebanese government. Managua is attempting to annex a sliver of Costa Rica, a nation much too virtuous to have an army of its own. And speaking of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is setting himself up as another Hugo Chávez by running, unconstitutionally, for another term. Both men are friends and allies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
About all of this, the Obama administration has basically done nothing. As Sarah Palin might say: How’s that multi-poley stuff workin’ out for ya?
The “hopeful” approach to the world manifested itself in the admnistration’s “outreach” to Russia, which brought us the new START Treaty, which Obama wants to the Senate to pass during the current lame duck Congress. Serious people have serious concerns about whether the treaty allows adequate inspections, would destroy our missile defense program, and would be disadvantageous to us in a variety of other ways.
One of them, former Bill Clinton CIA Director and veteran arms negotiator James Woolsey, writes in a piece titled “Old Problems with the New START that the flaws stem from Obama and Clinton’s multi-poley hopey-changey approach to the Russians.
A number of years negotiating arms-control agreements with the Soviets taught me that, when dealing with Russian counterparts, don’t appear eager—friendly yes, eager never. Regrettably, the Obama administration seems to have become eager for a deal in its negotiations on the follow-on treaty to the recently expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start). Hopes for a boost in efforts to “reset” relations with Russia, and for progress toward the president’s dream of a world without nuclear weapons, apparently combined to trump prudent negotiating strategy.
Obama and Clinton may yet discover that some are born in sin and only get worse from there. But they will probably realize it too late to save themselves, since most voters’ already understand this. Ideally, it won’t be too late to save the world.
Note to Readers: Reporting for this story was conducted over a period of six months by a team of three White House Dossier correspondents who met secretly with dozens of administration and other officials in Washington area parking garages and ate chicken sandwiches for lunch.
An exclusive White House Dossier investigation has determined that Russia’s surprise decision this week to begin fueling the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr occurred as a result of faulty wiring in the Reset Button pressed last year by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The investigation has revealed that tens of millions of dollars spent on developing the Reset Button went to waste on unnecessary overhead charges – much of the work could and should have been done without a roof – lavish meetings in far-flung locales at which sushi was served, and inflated salaries of project management executives who spent most of their time playing poker.
Millions of dollars of taxpayer-appropriated funding are simply unaccounted for. Halliburton is somehow involved and did something wrong.
The result was a reset button completely stripped of its ability to remake U.S.-Russian relations. “They might as well have been pressing a tomato,” said one senior State Department official.
The investigation points to the failure of engineers to properly route the device’s intricate electrical circuitry, resulting in a catastrophic failure.
“Normally, you attach the green wire to the green wire, the blue wire to the blue wire, and the yellow wire to the yellow wire,” said one technician who was closely involved with the project. “What we failed to understand was that in this case, you were supposed to attach the green wire to the blue wire, the blue wire to the yellow wire, and the yellow wire to the green wire,” he said. “It’s a complete fiasco.”
After realizing this spring that the reset button was not working, Russia immediately started misbehaving, determining to provide Iran with critical assistance on the path to developing nuclear weapons. Spent nuclear fuel rods from the reactor can be used can be used to make weapons-grade nuclear material,
Iran has agreed to give Russia the spent fuel rods, which a key safeguard in the agreement. But comments by one top Iranian official call into question this aspect of the deal.
“We plan to live up to the agreement,” said the official, who met with a White House Dossier reporter in Vienna. “But, you know, things get lost. That doesn’t make us bad people. Besides, the nuclear reactor is solely going to be use for making electric vehicles.”
Asked for comment yesterday, a senior White House official expressed concern about the nuclear reactor.
“While we applaud the Iranian leadership for its commitment to electric vehicles, we worry that the infrastructure for charging the vehicles has not yet been properly established in Iran,” he said.
The Iranian official assured White House Dossier that International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear inspectors currently allowed to visit the reactor will continue to have access.
“As long as all of their papers are in order, everything should be fine,” he said.
In an interview with Israeli TV, just released by the White House, President Obama sounds the toughest I’ve ever heard him with respect to Iran and its nuclear weapons program.
Now, of course, we must consider that every politician plays to his audience, and in this case the audience is a country that damn well wants him to use the most expensive and heaviest bombs he has on Iran’s nuclear installations. But perhaps there are signs here that Obama is thinking at some point about abandoning the Neville Chamberlain approach to Ahmadinehitler.
Let’s look closely at what he said. Remember, Obama chooses his words carefully and knew he’d be asked this.
Question: You mentioned Iran, and obviously you instituted tough sanctions against Iran. You said that in the meeting with Netanyahu. How long are you going to give the Iranian President, and what are you willing to do if he continues with his nuclear program?
Obama: Well, what I’ve said consistently is, is that it is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon, that we’re going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. What I’ve also tried to do is build an international consensus so that Iran can’t somehow play a victim, can’t suggest somehow that they’re being singled out by the West. They are the only country that has not been able to convince the International Atomic Energy Agency that they are pursuing nuclear power for peaceful means. It’s not hard to do, but they haven’t been able to do it because all indicators are that they are in fact pursuing a nuclear weapon.
So we just pursued the toughest sanctions that have ever been applied against the Iranian government. We followed those up with U.S. sanctions that are going to be tough. Allies and partners are following up with those sanctions. We want to continually ratchet up the costs of them pursuing this nuclear program.
Now, will that work? We don’t know. And we are going to continue to keep the door open for a diplomatic resolution of this challenge. But I assure you that I have not taken options off the table.
Three important things are said here:
1. “It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon . . . we’re going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening.”
The phrase “everything we can” must by definition include a military attack on the nuclear installations.
2. “Now, will that work? We don’t know.” Obama is acknowledging that diplomacy may not work, a sign he might consider other means.
3. “I assure you that I have not taken options off the table.” White House officials usually have to be asked specifically if the military option is still around. Here, Obama is volunteering it.
I unfortunately doubt that Obama will use our military against Iran. More likely, he will take the passive aggressive approach of letting Israel do it while hand wringing away on the sidelines. But I might be wrong.
In a rare coup for such a new website, White House Dossier has scored its first major scoop, and it’s a huge one. White House Dossier, through unnamed, highly placed sources who are also close to the issue, has procured the new draft of the Iran nuclear sanctions agreed to by the United States, Russia and China. These sources spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid having their asses immediately fired.
“These are tough, tough, – dare I say brutal – sanctions that will force Iran to think twice, and possibly even three or four times – OK, not four times but definitely at least twice – before building a nuclear weapon,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an exclusive interview. “This is awesome.”
The following are the key provisions of a document that will be considered Friday at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York:
1. Iran will be cited for being really, really mean (this was watered down at the last minute at Russia’s insistence from being “condemned” for being really, really mean, although Russia agreed to add the second “really.”)
2. Lebanese kabobs will be declared superior to Iranian kabobs.
3. Persian carpets will hereby be known internationally as “Freedom Rugs.”
4. The song “I Ran” by Flock of Seaguls will henceforth be played at all international sporting events in which Iranian athletes are awarded the gold medal.
Reaction from the Iranian leadership was mixed.
“Ow, you’re really hurting me,” said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
But Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatoallah Ali Khamenei expressed some concern.
“I don’t know, I really hate Flock of Seaguls. Do we really need these nuclear weapons?”
White House Dossier has learned that to gain Russian’s acquiescence in the deal, Hillary Clinton, in a startling acknowledgment that the administration’s new posture toward Moscow had failed to turn Russia’s leaders into reasonable people, met secretly with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week at the Kremlin. There, Clinton and Lavrov pressed the Reset Button AGAIN.
With the reset button – which for an awkward 20 seconds was stuck in the down position before popping back up – having been re-pressed, the Russians were ready to deal. (While it may have helped that “reset” was this time mistranslated into Russian as “Screw the nation of Georgia,” State Department officials say the error was entirely the result of bureaucratic bumbling.)
Meanwhile, Clinton earlier this week was overheard during a meeting in Beijing soothingly saying to Chinese President Hu Jintao – in a felicitous and highly nuanced diplomatic utterance worthy or Talleyrand – “Human rights, shmuman rights.”
Hu was clearly pleased, but maintained his strong negotiating stance by referencing the U.S. position as debtor and supplicant to China. “We’ve got you by the balls,” he told Clinton, adding, “Well, not you specifically.”
Noting that the United States was seven days late on its last payment – two days past the five day grace period – Hu threatened to jack up the rate to 19.8 percent and assess a $40 fine – for every $10 of debt.
Nevertheless, State Department officials say the new sanctions represent a major setback for Iran and a victory for the cause of nonproliferation to countries that would gladly give terrorists nuclear weapons to set off in Times Square.