Finally, this week the United States seems to be getting serious about Iran’s increasingly hostile and aggressive tendencies regarding their nuclear program and their apparent wish to dominate the whole Mideast theater.
Our usually compromising and non-threatening State Department seems to be changing its tune. Witness the recent remarks of U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, Nicholas Burns to the Dubai-based influential think-tank Gulf Research Center. He has effectively ruled out direct American talks with Iran, saying “The Middle East is not a region to be dominated by Iran. The Gulf isn’t a body of water to be controlled by Iran. That is why we have seen the United States station two carrier battle groups in the region.”
Indeed, our aircraft carrier, The U.S.S. John C. Stennis and several other support vessels are now underway from America to join the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Persian Gulf. Thank goodness that they are. Our military presence there is absolutely justified and an absolute necessity given the fact that Iran is now ruled by an ego-centric mad-man who thinks he can keep goading the U.S. and get away with it.
Perhaps one of the reasons Mr. Ahmadinejad pursues his reckless course is the fact that he is inept as a domestic leader of his people and that he is fast losing control at home. Prices spiral upwards, brutal repression of women especially continues, there is strong political opposition from both students and opposing parties, and his popularity at the polls in recent district elections continues to fall. His emphasis on anti-Holocaust attitudes has put him at odds with almost anyone with a rational mind inside the country.
The mad-man upped the stakes even further this week by denying access to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s contingent of 38 inspectors who want to see first hand that Iran’s nuclear program is all that it is claimed, which is a program declared to be for peaceful purposes only.
We all know that is a lie of major proportions and that “President” Ahmadinejad is becoming more belligerent and war-like with every passing day. His stone-walling regarding the admittance of the inspectors proves the point more than any statements this liar makes. At the start of this week Iran went ahead, despite international protests, with military maneuvers southeast of Teheran which have included provocative missile tests.
Then came the usual barrage of wild statements from the Iranian leader.
Over the course of a few days, he said:
1) “The U.S. intends to cause insecurity and dispute and weaken independent governments in the region to continue with its dominance over the Middle East and achieve its arrogant goals.”
2) “The U.S. and Zionist regime have a conspiracy to stir up conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in order to plunder the wealth of the regional nations.”
3) “Iran is “ready for anything” in its confrontation with the United States.
It should be long past obvious that Iran is not engaged in a peaceful nuclear program. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made it clear to Iran that they should not think that America is so weak because of the Iraqi war that we can do little else. We have proved, with our recent anti-terrorist strikes in Somalia and Afghanistan, that this belief is far from the truth. Secretary Gates said Iran would be sadly mistaken to trust in a weakened U.S. in order to carry on as brazenly as they have recently been doing.
Undersecretary of State Burns also made it crystal clear when he said in his Dubai remarks that:
“Iran is going to have to understand that the United States will protect its interests if Iran seeks to confront us.”
Even the French seem to be getting the message about Iran. After Iran went ahead with it missile tests, France’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jean-Baptiste Mattei was quoted in the classic French understatement style, as saying:
“This is obviously not a sign of goodwill, nor a sign of a willingness to cooperate with the international community.”
Perhaps most ominous of the potential seriousness of the present situation is that fact the we have now sent mine-sweepers back into the Persian Gulf as we know that in any Iranian conflict, they would seek to block vital shipping lanes. Just this week we sent in the U.S. S. Gladiator, our fourth mine-sweeper on patrol in these troubled waters
How near is an armed confrontation? Who can tell with a crazy man in charge of Iran? Perhaps he is all talk and no action. Perhaps he will be deposed before he can do something really stupid. But it is obviously much better to be prepared than to be surprised.
All that recent rough talk from us is as good as it has lately been most unusual. What is much better than talk, however, is action and we now finally seem to be responding to Ahmadinejad’s Iran in the only language he and his cronies really understands: brute strength. Let us hope, of course, that we do not have to use it. But let us also hope that our leaders know that to protect our nation’s future we should never be afraid to confront when confrontation is called for, as it most certainly appears to be the case now.