Posts Tagged ‘nuclear’
The U.N. nuclear agency on Thursday expressed concern for the first time that Iran may currently be working on ways to turn enriched uranium into a nuclear warhead, instead of having stopped several years ago.
Its report appears to contradict an assessment by Washington that Tehran suspended such activities in 2003. It appears to jibe with the concerns of several U.S. allies that Iran may never have suspended such work.
Really now? What tipped them off? Ahmadinejad has been playing nuclear chicken with the United Nations for years. What exactly caused the U.N. to wake up today and tentatively acknowledge blazingly obvious reality, instead of continuing to close its eyes as it has been all along? Why now?
That’s the big question, after all. For the United Nations to even make such a statement, there has to have been a sea change somewhere else behind the scenes that triggered it. If China or Russia is prepared to put more pressure on Iran, this could be indicative of a change in the game, even if the U.N.’s statements are, in and of themselves, essentially worthless. The world will be watching closely, that’s for certain.
The utterly useless, impotent United Nations sent its version of a “we’re warning you, or else…” message to Iran regarding its nuclear program:
The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board censured Iran on Friday, with 25 nations backing a resolution demanding that Tehran immediately freeze construction of its newly revealed nuclear facility and heed to stop uranium enrichment.
The trouble is, there’s no backup to the “or else”. And Iran knows it, too:
Iran remained defiant, with its chief representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency declaring that his country would resist “pressure, resolutions, sanction(s) and threat of military attack.”
Delegate Ali Asghar Soltanieh of Iran shrugged off the vote.
“Neither resolutions of the board of governors nor those of the United Nations Security Council … neither sanctions nor the threat of military attacks can interrupt peaceful nuclear activities in Iran, even a second,” he told the closed-door meeting, in remarks made available to reporters.
Iran can taunt the world and continue to develop nuclear weapons with impunity, in flat defiance of the Security Council or anyone else, because it knows full well that the UN can’t and won’t back up its threats with anything concrete. There’s no action that they can take. They can’t go to war or invade Iran. They can’t attack its nuclear facilities. They can’t even impose sanctions, which would risk alienating the strengthening resistence movement within Iran.
By the time anyone figures out a course of action on Iran, it will likely be too late. If it isn’t already.
Iran continues to play nuclear weapons chicken with a world community that’s basically out of options. But, according to Barack Obama, there’s a silver lining to the world’s powerlessness to stop Iran from going nuclear: At least the world is united in its powerlessness:
Obama added: “Our expectation is that over the next several weeks, we will be developing a package of potential steps that we could take that will indicate our seriousness to Iran. . . . I continue to hold out the prospect that they may decide to walk through this door. I hope they do. But what I am pleased about is the extraordinary international unity that we have seen.”
Well, that’s nice. Even if it’s nowhere near accurate.
So apparently, Hillary Clinton is not okay with a nuclear North Korea… but she doesn’t seem to have a problem with a nuclear Iran.
Better hope that umbrella is big enough to protect you from the ensuing shitstorm, Hillary.
Shimon Peres’s attempt to put a positive spin on the global economic crisis:
“The leaders of Iran cannot give their children uranium for breakfast,” Peres said, adding that the world financial crisis would hamper Iran’s progress toward nuclear capability. “As the price of oil declines, Iran doesn’t have as much money to invest in uranium, missiles and terrorism,” he said.
Erm. Not sure about the logic of that one, Shimon. Worsening economic conditions usually breeds more hatred and a need for scapegoating, just as peace usually requires prosperity to achieve. But hey, way to keep up that optimism.
A Reuters article, perhaps accidentally, stumbles on the true crux of the matter when it comes to North Korea:
North Korea has committed “crimes against humanity” against its own people according to an independent report published on Monday that made a long-shot appeal for the U.N. Security Council to deal with the issue.
Released after North Korea’s October 9 nuclear test, the report describes Pyongyang’s brutal treatment of its citizens, from the beatings of pregnant women to force miscarriages to the abduction, torture and execution of political prisoners.
Commissioned by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, former Czech president Vaclav Havel and former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, the paper seeks to spotlight rights abuses that have been previously reported but are often overshadowed by concern about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
And that, after all, is the point. North Korea has been committing horrific crimes against humanity that beg the question of why, more than sixty years after swearing “never again”, the world sits back and allows them to happen.
The answer to that question can presumably be found in two little words: nuclear weapons. The theory is that, while in the midst of dealing with the nuclear crisis, there’s little that the world can do about anything else North Korea is doing.
So what’s our excuse, then, when it comes to (nuclear-less) Sudan?
Except that we already pretty much all knew about them. And there wasn’t really anything anyone could do before, so what will really change here? The United Nations? Is anyone really delusional enough to think that this organization which is currently unable to do anything about the mass murder still ongoing in Sudan can do anything about North Korea? It’s not as though a UN threat of sanctions would be too scary to a country already suffering mass starvation. Or that anyone really believes anyone – US or otherwise – would use a military option. In short, a nuclear North Korea is pretty much a fait accompli, because the rest of the world has no options.
Damian thinks the only option for North Korea has to come from within:
Ultimately, the only ways Kim will be removed from power are a potentially catastrophic outside invasion, or an uprising from within. The former is a non-starter; the latter could work. From here on out, we should redouble our efforts to support those brave North Koreans who oppose their government, and to get news and information to the most hermetically sealed society on earth.
Unfortunately, I have to disagree with Damian on this one, for a few reasons:
1) North Korea has no real viable, organized opposition of any form; it’s the world’s least free and most oppressive regime, where opposition is systematically stamped out in its infancy.
2) North Korea is also desperately poor, has no real economy, no rule of law, no independent institutions… in short, it’s much, much worse than even Iraq. We mustn’t assume that the removal of Kim Jong-Il would liberate a country just waiting for the opportunity to instill a flourishing democracy. There is no indication that the removal of the dictatorship would leave anything but total chaos and anarchy. And a situation where chaotic anarchy meets nuclear weapons might be the only thing scarier than the current situation. At least we KNOW which crazy guy has his finger on the button now. What will happen when it’s a free-for-all?
The question we should be asking is, why now? Granted, Kim Jong-Il is crazy, but by some accounts he’s also crazy like a fox. This test was an in-your-face to the West, an in-your-face to the United Nations, and an in-your-face to Bush. And its timing was no coincidence. Given the geopolitical factors in the rest of the world, namely the mess in Iraq and Iran’s ongoing game of nuclear chicken with the U.N., Kim Jong-Il probably decided the time was ripe to flex his muscle a little bit.
But does this mean we’re on the verge of nuclear disaster? That depends on your perspective. The worry about Iran going nuclear is that Ahmadinejad might be crazy enough to actually not care about the consequences of launching a nuclear strike, so deep is his hatred for Israel and the West. Is the same true of Kim Jong-Il? Or is North Korea just trying to prove a point?
These are questions that were always hard to answer about nuclear weapons, but if we think this is the worst of it, then we’re kidding ourselves. To date, nuclear weapons have only ever been in the hands of countries, ranging from democracies to despotic dictatorships with crazy leaders, but all countries nonetheless. It’s only a matter of time until a terrorist group or rogue organization gets ahold of nuclear weapons. What then? What happens when there are no diplomatic options to even attempt?
We’d better start thinking about it, and soon, because if you think that this week is scary, I fear we ain’t seen nothing yet.
My solution? Send in our ultimate weapons: Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
- The London Times reports that Iran is trying to mine Uranium in Africa, with the goal of importing it to make, well, I’ll give you three guesses. (Via IrisBlog).
- Related to the above, Mark C. at Daimnation links to this excellent editorial in the New York Times by a French writer explaining the existential threat to Israel that made the Lebanon war necessary. (Link requires registration).
- The big story making the rounds online, of course, is about the doctored Qana photos, a story that LGF has been all over for a couple of days now. Allison links to Reuters’ (belated) response to this fiasco. (My personal opinion? While I’m sure Reuters will end up with some egg on their face over this one, it won’t be nearly enough, and in fifty years people will still be quoting some of the exaggerations from Qana as fact, just as they’re still quoting the exaggerations from Deir Yassin today. And you know what else? I can’t even bring myself to get worked up about it, because symbols last longer than facts in any case, and innocent civilians were killed in Qana, and even though Hezbollah is deliberately doing much, much worse on a daily basis, the focusing on the conspiracies and exaggerations is going to ring hollow no matter what. But I’ve ranted about this already, so I’ll leave it at that for now.)
- And while the attention of the world is focused on Israel and Lebanon, things in Sri Lanka are getting worse. But is anyone noticing? When will 15,000 people will turn up in downtown Montreal to protest this war? (Oh, right, that’s just reserved for wars they can blame on the J-E-W-S).
On that note, time for bed.
North Korea will upgrade its arsenal “in every way by employing all possible means and methods” and will greet any aggressors with “all-out do-or-die resistance and unprecedented devastating strikes,” Kim Il Chol said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
The PDRDC isn’t even bothering to feed anyone stories about “power stations” anymore. Emboldened perhaps by the world’s staggering inability to do much of anything to stop his horrifying regime from going nuclear, Kim Jong-Il is taking this game of chicken to the next level.
Happy Friday, everyone!