Custom Search

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is There Enough 'Time' For Obama's Iran Timeline?

The meeting between Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, seems to have went well, with both getting a portion of what they wanted from it and news filtering though the media about Obama setting some type of timeline for deciding if Iran is working in "good faith" (I know, don't laugh too hard at the fact that he even believes that is possible).

On Monday, Mr. Obama seemed to be trying to address that concern.

Speaking of the development and deployment of a nuclear weapon, he said, “We’re not going to create a situation in which talks become an excuse for inaction while Iran proceeds.”

Mr. Obama added that he intended to “gauge and do a reassessment by the end of the year” on whether the diplomatic approach was producing results.

The exchange was the first time Mr. Obama had seemed willing to set even a general timetable for progress in talks with Iran, a country that has not had diplomatic relations with the United States in three decades.

He said he expected international talks with Iran, involving six nations including the United States, to begin shortly after the Iranian elections in June, with the possibility of “direct talks” between the United States and Iran after that.

The meeting between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama was their first face-to-face session since each assumed office, and it went on far longer than the hour initially planned — so long, in fact, that the president rearranged his schedule for the rest of the day, postponing a meeting with a candidate to run NASA.

Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama came to the meeting with competing goals: Mr. Obama wanted Mr. Netanyahu to embrace a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and Mr. Netanyahu wanted Mr. Obama to take a strong stand on the threat to Israel’s security posed by Iran. Some independent experts said afterward that Mr. Netanyahu appeared to have succeeded.

Commentary points out the glaring problem with this report, one that the original article I linked to, didn't bother mentioning.

Israeli intelligence is warning that “Iran has two-thirds of the fissile material it needs to manufacture a nuclear weapon,… meaning that at the current pace of uranium enrichment, it will reach the break-out quantity late this year or early next year.” So Obama says he will find out whether negotiations with Iran are going anywhere just about the time when Iran may be fielding its first nuclear weapon.

This points to one of the key problems with Obama’s approach: There simply isn’t time for protracted negotiations given how close Iran is to going nuclear. Yet, even in the best-case scenario the Obama team imagines a lengthy process under which the Iranians would rebuff initial demands, the U.S. would have to seek tougher sanctions, then eventually a deal would be possible. And that’s assuming, of course, that Obama could somehow put more pressure on Iran than Bush did — which is improbable. (Why will the Russians or Chinese be any more willing to crack down now than in the past?)

What good will Obama's determination to get stricter be if Iran already has a nuclear weapon?

Resolution after resolution has been passed against Iran for refusing to stop trying to attain a nuclear weapon, sanctions with no teeth have come from the UN Security Council because China and Russia has made sure that nothing with teeth ever got by them.

What on earth does Obama think is going to happen when his patience runs out? Does he think China and Russia are going to suddenly become cooperative and even if they would, again, if Iran already has the weapon, isn't it all a moot point?

Netanyahu is not a stupid man, nor as naive as Obama obviously is if he believes Iran will work in good faith instead of simply using Obama's own timeline against him to produce the weapon in that timeframe.

Netanyahu will not stand back while that happens, nor will he wait if he has verifiable information regarding Iran and an imminent threat to his country.

I have to wonder, if Obama truly believes that Iran will work in "good faith" after these last years of completely ignoring the international community, does Obama also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy?