The Bush Doctrine: Wins & Losses
December 24 2003
"Trust but verify,"
was Reagan's motto in negotiating arms deals with Mikhail Gorbachev. And
sound advice, too, on hearing that Col. Gadhafi has agreed to forswear
nuclear and chemical weapons, and invited in British and U.S. scientists
to give them the run of his laboratories and production facilities.
Gadhafi's admission that he was pursuing nuclear weapons and his
agreement to dismantle them is a triumph for President Bush and the Bush
Doctrine. Why did the colonel accede to U.S. demands?
Libya has for years sought to get out of the sanctions box imposed after
the bombing of a Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S. soldiers in 1986.
Since the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1989, Libya has been a pariah state.
Apparently, secret talks to end Libya's isolation were speeded up by
Gadhafi himself about the time the 3rd Infantry Division and Marines
crossed the Iraqi border. Clearly, the colonel does not wish to end his
career being dragged out of a spider hole.
But if Bush's invasion of Iraq helped to convince Libya to junk its
outlawed weapons, it seems to have had the opposite effect on North
Korea. Since being warned by President Bush that he will not allow the
"world's worst dictators" to acquire the world's worst weapons, Kim Jong
Il has walked out of the non-proliferation treaty and begun a crash
program to build atom bombs.
Before Pyongyang even begins to think of giving up nuclear weapons, Kim
is saying, Bush must give him a guarantee we will not attack. Bush has
balked, talks are stalled, and Kim's nuclear program proceeds. The Bush
Doctrine is being defied with impunity in Northeast Asia.
But in Iran, the president can claim another victory. Teheran has agreed
to permit surprise inspections of its nuclear facilities after pressure
from Europe – pressure that began only after Bush's warnings to Iran and
his invasion of Iraq.
Iran appears to have had a secret nuclear program since 1985. On Sunday,
the Washington Post reported that 160 operating gas centrifuges for
producing highly enriched uranium – the core of atomic bombs – had been
discovered, probably provided by Pakistanis.
Said the Post in an ominous paragraph: "Iran's pilot facility, which is
now functional, and a much larger uranium-enrichment plant under
construction next door are designed to produce enough fissile material
to make at least two dozen nuclear bombs a year."
However, there are no signs at present that Bush intends to enforce his
doctrine in Iran or North Korea by military means. But there are signs
Israel is contemplating the option.
According to Haaretz, Meir Dagan, head of Mossad, in a report to the
Knesset, "described the [Iranian nuclear] threat as the greatest one
Israel had ever faced." In Washington, in November, Defense Minister
Shaul Mofaz called Iranian nuclear weapons "insufferable."
Speaking in Persian to Iran last week, Mofaz added that if the need
arose to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, "the necessary steps will be
taken so that Iranian citizens will not be harmed."
Israel has been making far more pointed threats against Iran than has
the United States. And she has credibility. In 1981, Israel bombed and
destroyed the Osirak reactor outside Baghdad in a Sunday morning raid
that killed a lone French technician at the site.
Iran's program is not so far advanced as North Korea's. She may be years
away from an operational nuclear warhead. Yet, Teheran has upgraded its
Shahab 3 rocket so it can strike Israel from central Iran. And one does
not test and build costly long-range missiles to drop conventional
There is thus a possibility that if President Bush does not effect the
dismantling of Iran's nuclear weapons plants in 2004, Israel will.
Unless Israel is bluffing, there is a high probability of an Israeli
attack before Iran acquires – in Israel's eyes – the ability both to
produce nuclear weapons and deliver them.
Why would Iran even want nukes? Surely for the same reason the Soviet
Union, Britain, China, France, Israel, India and Pakistan built them –
as a deterrent and defense against blackmail or attack. No nuclear power
has ever seen its homeland invaded or seriously attacked.
Nuclear weapons are effective deterrents. President Eisenhower
threatened China in 1953 and 1958, Kennedy threatened massive
retaliation if Soviet missiles were launched from Cuba in 1962. Israel
is said to have readied its nukes to prevent the Egyptian army from
crossing the Sinai into Israel in the first and darkest days of the Yom
Kippur war of 1973.
So it would seem that, in 2004, either Iran will take the path of
repentance trod by Col. Gadhafi, forswear nuclear weapons and divest
itself of all nuclear weapons programs – or Iran will be in a
confrontation with America or clash with Israel. Happy New Year!
© 2003 Creators
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