Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Bush off the hook over Iran

It is true that George Bush looks rather silly at the moment over Iran. Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president had calculated that he could go ahead with his nuclear power program, and the US would not dare to stop him. For the next 12 months at least, his gamble has paid off.
Originally when the US invaded Iraq, they imagined that Iraq would become a prosperous liberal democracy, and then they could march on to Syria and Iran. Iran was the more important target, since it produces more oil.
Since the US bit off more than it could chew in Iraq, an invasion of either country looks absurd. The next best option as far as the hawks were concerned appeared to be to bomb Iran into submission.
But how would that work? Ahmedinejad does not seem to be persuaded that it can acheive anything, and by doing what the US does not want, his prestige in the region has grown.
Well next year is election year in the US, and it is hard to believe that Bush would really want to do anything silly in Iran, undermining the Republican candidates for president in doing so.
Historically when the intelligence services did not deliver what Bush wanted to hear about Iraq, he specifically undermined the intelligence services by creating his own intelligence service, the Office for Speical Plans (OSP) that reported what he wanted to hear, unlike the CIA. The OSP became the cheif source for claims about Iraq's WMD.
Now all of a sudden, the CIA is "trusted" again, and even Dick Cheney is falling into line.
Logically you would have thought everyone would be delighted, Iran is not on the verge of becoming a nulcear power. But there are still some hawks who are screaming, and do not trust the CIA. They still want to attack Iran, regardless of whether they intend to obtain nuclear weapons are not.
I think they will have to wait until they get a new president, 2008 is not going to be their year. 2009 could be a different matter entirely.
So does Iran want nuclear weapons? I suspect every country in the region wants them. Partly for their own security concerns, and partly for the prestige of having them. In the case of the UK, with no security threat, we have nuclear weapons purely for the prestige of having them. Already Isreal, Pakistan, India and China have nuclear weapons, and are potential threats to Iran. And the US is a clear and obvious threat as well. The US would not have behaved in the way it has done had Iran had nuclear weapons, as we see in North Korea.
So we do need to consider how to stop more states in the region from getting nuclear weapons, in case they fall into the wrong hands.
How do we do that? Answers on a postcard please!

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