Nuclear Proliferation

The publication of classified documents by WikiLeaks has caused much embarrassment for leaders around the world who believed that they were talking to American diplomats in confidence. It will be more difficult for our government to have frank discussions with other countries about sensitive topics. The damage to American diplomacy is significant and the Americans who leaked these documents and Wikileaks editor Julian Assange should be prosecuted for the crimes they committed.

The documents also reveal what a dangerous world we live in and that foreign leaders often are much more supportive of American action against the world’s terrorists and rogue regimes than we are lead to believe by the media. For example, the king of Saudi Arabia urged the Obama administration to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities by force. He and other Middle East leaders are concerned about a nuclear Iran, not about a few Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Tonight, a new story has emerged that China is ready to abandon the mad regime of North Korea and accept a unified Korea led from Seoul, South Korea’s capital. That is good news although how to get to this goal remains a challenge and who knows how Kim Il-Jung and his generals will react in the midst of the current confrontation with South Korea.

Here is a discussion of the WikiLeaks revelations on Fox News:

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On Saturday Fidel Castro for the first time in four years addressed Cuba’s communist parliament. He almost died in 2006 from intestinal problems when he handed over power to his now 79-year-old brother Raul Castro. The almost 84-year-old gave a ten minute speech warning about a nuclear holocaust if the United States and Israel stand firm against the dictators of Iran and North Korea and their efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The Miami Herald reports:

Castro noted that after months of warning of the risks of nuclear war if the United States tries to inspect Iranian ships beginning in September, as part of U.N. sanctions, he’s now less pesimistic.

“At first I thought that the imminent danger of war had no solution possible,” he said.

“I am sure, however, that it will not happen that way and that, on the contrary, the conditions for a solution . . . are being created at this time.”

“One man alone will have to make the decision: The president of the United States,” Castro said, because Iran will not bow to U.S. and Israeli demands to halt its nuclear program.

If Obama approves an attack on Iran, he added, he will trigger a war that will spread through the Middle East and Asia and cause “the instantaneous death of hundreds of millions of people, among them an incalculable number of people in his own country.”

The “established order of the planet . . . will inevitably collapse, the reigning social order will disappear abruptly” and all currencies will be worthless, he added.

Castro noted that “as luck would have it,” Obama’s father was Muslim and his mother was Christian and added he hoped the U.S. president will become conscious of the threat to world peace.

Unfortunately, Castro is right about Obama’s unwillingness to seriously confront Iran and take out it’s nuclear capability. The real threat to the world is the opposite of Castro’s warning. Not confronting Iran and destroying its nuclear facilities creates the risk of a nuclear war in the Middle East.

If we had a president who understood the nature of the Iranian regime and of propaganda from old dictators like Castro, he would see through Castro’s rhetoric and understand that doing the opposite of what Castro recommends will ensure the world’s safety. Unfortunately, President Obama has been incapable of understanding the evil nature of Iran’s leaders and has grown up surrounded by leftist intellectuals who still idealize Castro’s murderous regime. Obama won’t admit this in public, but he is likely to find validation in the warnings of a decrepit dictator.

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The opposition to President Obama’s leftist policies consist of people that agree on a lot, but who also differ in some respects. The rational opposition consists of conservatives, libertarians and American centrists. Many in the Tea Party movement never were involved in politics before Obamacare and other plans to increase the power of the federal government motivated them to speak up.

If we are going to defeat Obama and the Left, we will need to be able to unite around the common goal to return government to its legitimate limited role. But we will also need to accept that we disagree in some areas and not everyone will be happy with every decision in a post-Obama American government.

We agree in many areas: lower taxes, less spending, taking the limitations the Constitution puts on government power serious again. The libertarian influence on conservatives is positive in areas like free trade.

One area where conservatives have a serious legitimate disagreement with many libertarians is foreign policy.

We all agree that national defense against external threats is a fundamental legitimate role of the federal government. We disagree whether this should include a forward posture that includes stationing American troops in areas of US interest throughout the world or whether defense should strictly start at our border.

I disagree with a lot of the discussion in the video below except for Deroy Murdock’s comments. We cannot expect to live safely in this world by withdrawing behind our borders. Our economy is linked to the rest of the world and we will not be able to maintain peace and prosperity in the United States if we abandon our legitimate interests in the rest of the world.

We have to learn from history. America’s isolationist posture in the 1930s delayed our entry into World War 2 until we were unprepared for an attack on Pearl Harbor. Our weakness emboldened the Nazi and Japanese militaristic enemies and prolonged the war and the resulting destruction. We recovered from the biggest catastrophe of the 20th century, but we could have done better.

After 9/11, we have had to learn to deal with new asymmetrical threats from Islamic terrorists that were supported by government like the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The people in this video with a different view are rational people, but I disagree with their understanding of the world and some of their policy ideas. Barack Obama’s new policy of abandoning nuclear weapons development and promising rogue nations (other than Iran and North Korea) that we won’t use nuclear weapons to retaliate against a non-nuclear attack makes it important that we listen to our libertarian friends and stay united as much as possible on supporting a strong defense of America.

I present this video with the goal of helping to achieve clarity on our disagreements. We should listen to valid criticism, but also should try to persuade libertarians that the American consensus on much of foreign policy since World War 2 should continue to be our position.

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President Obama is revising America’s nuclear strategy and will limit the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons in a report called the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The New York Times describes a key change of the new policy:

It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

This is a radical change from the policy pursued by every President starting with John F. Kennedy. Until today, the US position was that an attack by a foreign power against the US or its allies could result in an overwhelming nuclear response obliterating the enemy. This kept the peace during the Cold War. The Soviet Union had conventional superiority in Europe, but, if it had chosen to overrun West Germany and other parts of Western Europe, it faced the threat that Moscow and all other major Soviet cities would cease to exist.

Now, our stated position is that if someone attacks us or our allies, we’ll have a bunch of lawyers review the attacking regime’s “compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty” before we decide what to do. Communist China must be salivating at the prospect of invading Taiwan without threat of US retaliation.

Obama said that he is carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea.” And if there were serious attack on the United States, it is still hard to believe than an American government would not retaliate overwhelmingly. But the problem with the NPR is that much of the ambiguity of what the United States may do is removed. Powerline comments:

The cardinal rule, when it comes to nuclear weapons, is keep ’em guessing. We want our enemies to believe that we may well be crazy enough to vaporize them, given sufficient provocation; one just can’t tell. There is a reason why that ambiguity has been the American government’s policy for more than 50 years. Obama cheerfully tosses overboard the strategic consensus of two generations.

Or pretends to, anyway. Does anyone doubt that the administration would use nukes in a heartbeat if it considered such measures necessary? I don’t. The problem is that when the time comes to actually use nuclear weapons, it is too late. The danger here is not that the Obama administration has really gone pacifist. On the contrary, the significance of today’s announcement appears to be entirely symbolic–just one more chance to preen. The problem is that our enemies understand symbolism and maybe take it too seriously. To them, today’s announcement is another sign that our government has gone soft, and one more inducement to undertake aggressive action against the United States.

Hot Air comments on the changed incentives for jihadists and rogue regimes:

In limiting the nuclear deterrent to nuclear weapons (and, in certain cases, biological attacks) instead of WMD generally, doesn’t this create an incentive to focus on developing bio and chemical weapons? In most cases those are less dangerous than nukes, but nukes are also harder to develop and more easy to monitor. Do we really want tomorrow’s A.Q. Khans focusing on smallpox instead?

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The Iranian people are again rising up against the tyrannical regime that has ruled them for the past 30 years. This is happening at a time when Iran may be on the verge becoming a nuclear power posing a threat to its immediate neighbors and the world.

Protests increased after the death of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on December 19th and have continued on the Shiite religious holiday Ashura and beyond.

Montazeri once was the designated successor to Khomeini, the founder of the current regime. He was demoted just months before Khomeini’s death in 1989 after criticizing the repressive practices of the regime and advocating a more open society.

Six months ago, after the fraudulent election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of a second term by the Iranian Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei, demonstrations by the opposition Green Movement erupted throughout the country. While they were sparsely covered by Western media, Iranian students were able to share information, pictures and video with the world through Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

The demonstrations were followed by brutal repression from government forces. Here is a video on the rise of the Green Movement and the events of last year:

After months of sitting on the fence, the Obama administration is showing more interest in supporting the resistance movement. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Since the opposition movement’s demonstrations recently peaked after the death of reformist Islamic cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a number of Iran scholars in the U.S. said they have been contacted by senior administration officials eager to understand if the Iranian unrest suggested a greater threat to Tehran’s government than originally understood.

“The tone has changed in the conversation,” said one scholar who discussed Iran with senior U.S. officials. “There’s realization now that this unrest really matters.”

Better late than never.

The Obama administration’s new interest in the Green Movement may also be motivated by the realization that Obama’s overtures to the Iranian government have been rebuffed and mocked by the regime. The threat of sanctions is not credible after the Europeans and both Bush and Obama have been threatening sanctions for years and the Iranian rulers continue working on getting a nuclear bomb.

It is clear that Obama will not initiate military action to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel may try to strike, but it will be difficult for Israel to orchestrate the successful destruction of multiple nuclear facilities.

Revolutions are hard to predict, but Iran and the world would be better off if the irrational, terrorist-sponsoring regime is replaced before it acquires nuclear weapons. Iran would still likely become a nuclear power, but nuclear weapons in the hands of a democratic government with friendly relations with the West and with its neighbors would be less of threat than nuclear bombs in the hands of rulers who are openly calling for the destruction of Israel and Western democracies.

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