Iran may have the bomb

A report suggests that the most recent North Korea nuclear test, which used Uranium, not Plutonium as in their others, may have been the Iranian bomb.

the RAND Corporation reports that the third North Korean nuclear test appears to many experts to be fundamentally different from its previous two efforts. North Korea’s first tests used plutonium to trigger the nuclear explosion. This one, according to some atmospheric tests, likely used highly enriched uranium, exactly the form of nuclear weapon pursued by Iran.

The report is not that positive about the weapon type.

Key aspects of North Korea’s third nuclear weapon test, carried out on Tuesday, remain unknown. We do not know whether it was a test of a plutonium or highly enriched uranium weapon, though many experts suspect the latter.

The report is hardly definitive but it would not be a surprise if Iran has pushed through to a success in its program, unencumbered by any serious US opposition. Still, there is some serious concern.

The question is whether the weapon North Korea tested this month was its own, Iran’s or a joint project. A senior U.S. official told The New York Times, “It’s very possible that the North Koreans are testing for two countries.” It would be foolish for Iran to test a nuclear weapon on its own soil. Nuclear weapons cannot be detonated in secret; they leave unique seismic markers that can be traced back to their source. An in-country test would simply confirm the existence of a program that for years Iran has denied.

Ralph Peters has some serious concerns about where the Obama administration is going.

Like Garbo, President Obama wants to be left alone.

The world annoys him. His personal interests and political agenda are domestic in focus: “An economy that works for everybody” (without everybody working for the economy, of course) is his dream. But foreign-policy crises will be his second-term nightmare.

Obama and his party behave as isolationist Republicans did in the 1930s, when they refused to take Hitler or Japanese imperialism seriously. Obama’s infamous Cairo speech, pandering to Islamists and Israel-haters, is likely to be seen by historians in a light similar to Charles Lindbergh’s giddy infatuation with the Nazis.

A recent book suggests that there is no real Obama foreign policy. It is all domestic and political. His behavior in the sequester affair suggests that everything is focused on his power to implement a leftist agenda in his last two years with a Democrat majority in the House. He has little interest in the present circumstances in the country. In fact, he seems intent on creating the most chaos and pain from the sequester, small as it is, in order to beat the Republicans with stories of citizen distress.

The book is self serving. Its author, Vali Nasr, served with Richard Holbrooke in the Obama State Department in 2009.

Vali Nasr, a university professor who was seconded in 2009 to work with Richard Holbrooke, Mr Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, records his profound disillusion at how a “Berlin Wall” of domestic-focused advisers was erected to protect Mr Obama.
“The president had a truly disturbing habit of funnelling major foreign policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers whose turf was strictly politics,” Mr Nasr writes in The Dispensable Nation: America Foreign policy in Retreat.
The book sets out in detail how Mr Holbrooke, appointed with great fanfare in 2009, was systematically cut out of decision making as both he and Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, tried to argue the merits of engaging with the Taliban and the dangers caused by the overuse of drones.

This fits well with our impression of the Obama administration.

“The White House seemed to see an actual benefit in not doing too much,” Prof Nasr writes, “The goal was to spare the president the risks that necessarily come with playing the leadership role that America claims to play in this region.”
Admiral Mike Mullen, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until September 2011, is quoted lamenting how little support Mrs Clinton received from the White House, even though she remained on good personal terms with Mr Obama.
“They want to control everything,” Admiral Mullen is quoted as saying of a White House that Prof Nasr says was “ravenous” in its desire to manage foreign policy, even by the to-be-expected standards of turf wars between diplomatic and national security teams.

Mr Nasr may have fears that Ralph Peters is correct and a disaster is impending. He wishes to distance himself from the source of such events.

We, unfortunately, are unable to do so.

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4 Responses to “Iran may have the bomb”

  1. doombuggy says:

    The electorate has no patience for foreign policy: it gained no traction in the last election. I think here we can, indeed, blame Bush, who essentially burned out the military and public with his foreign adventures.

    The Left and Right blogs I peruse both see the US as a problem: the left claims we kill too many people, some of the right claims we are tools of Israel.

    Unfortunately, disengagement of world powers often coincides with the rise of an avoidable risk.

  2. I think Bush had a difficult dilemma in 2001. Had he done nothing to Saddam, we would have to have left Saudi Arabia. He had to invade or leave. The mistake, I think, was in trying to build some sort of democratic state in a Muslim country. Iraq was a better candidate than most, at least superficially. If we had turned the place over to the exiles and left Jay Garner to hold the lid on, we might have done no worse with a lot fewer casualties.

  3. doombuggy says:

    Yeah, looking back I sure wish some things had been done differently.

    I like the advice from an Iraq local: put a friendly Sunni general in Saddam’s place.

    Disbanding the Iraqi army was a mistake.

    Those in charge were anxious to cancel the existing Iraqi institutions and create a kind of “free enterprise zone” in their place. They were not aware of the dependence that had been built up via Baathist cronyism. We are now going that way under Obama cronyism. Funny how the worm turns.

  4. I’ve read that the Iraqi army fell apart. The officer corps were Sunni and the ranks were Shia. All Arab armies are poorly led. Bremer, I believe, was the culprit as he seemed enthusiastic about being a proconsul. State was always hostile to the exiles.