A paradox of the Bush Administration is that it ultimately bypassed the U.N. on Iraq but wants to rely on the U.N. in the case of Iran. The Wall Street Journal, in a flattering profile of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, heralded this approach as “neorealism.” It could spell doom and destruction for the U.S. and the West.
Reflecting this approach, the new majority leader Rep. John Boehner told Meet the Press host Tim Russert on February 5 that he was pleasantly surprised that the U.N. was dealing with the matter of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Russert was too busy trying to trip Boehner up on the issue lobbying reform to follow up. But the idea of the U.N. doing anything about Iran, based on its record of dealing with Iraq, is almost laughable. A book on the U.N. by Joshua Muravchik, The Future of the United Nations, makes that crystal clear.
In fact, Muravchik, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that the same tactics that Iraq used to thwart scrutiny of its nuclear weapons program “have also been used by Iran.” Like Iran, Iraq used its declared goal of peaceful nuclear energy as a cover under which to develop nuclear weapons. At the time of the first Gulf War, Iraq was only six months to two years away from a nuclear weapon.
Muravchik’s book was released last August. But he anticipated what might happen with Iran and its nuclear program. If the matter is referred to the U.N. Security Council, Muravchik responded: “So what?” In the end, he anticipates that Russia, China and members of the Non-Aligned Movement will protect Iran with their vetoes and votes. He says that, “Even America’s allies might not go for any measures tough enough to make Teheran change its ways.”
For those still unfamiliar with Iraq’s history of defiance of the United Nations, the Bush Administration produced a very informative September 12, 2002, document, “A Decade of Deception and Defiance.”
It declared that, “Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated sixteen United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) designed to ensure that Iraq does not pose a threat to international peace and security.”
Does the Bush Administration think we have years to play around with the U.N. on Iran? How far away is Iran from a nuclear weapon anyway? It depends on who or what you read.
The Washington Post reported last August 2 that, “A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.”
However, back in 1993, the CIA had said that Iran was 8-10 years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. That would mean that Iraq has them now.
The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said last year that Iran was five years away from acquiring nuclear weapons.
In 1995, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director John Holum said that Iran could have the nuclear bomb by 2003. In 1997 testimony he said Iran could have the bomb by 2005-2007.
German intelligence says Iran is 3-4 years away from getting the nuclear bomb.