America Unprepared

This weekend, The New York Times reported on a secret, three-page memorandum that was composed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and sent to President Obama’s national security advisor this past January.  The document highlights Gates’s fear that the United States is not adequately prepared for a nuclear Iran, while calling for effective long-term strategies in dealing with the defiant Mideast nation.  This unintended admission showcases the American government’s lack of long-range preparedness in the face of an aggressive and resistant Iran, while leaving many to wonder how the administration will confront Iran’s ever-increasing volatility.

The recent memo, written just three months ago, is startling in its own regard, as it appears to warn the White House that the U.S. is ill-prepared for the potential nuclear fruits of Iran’s defiance.  While this memo does, indeed, provide new internal insight, experts have been aware of the horrific dangers of a nuclear Iran for years.  On Mon., Reuters reported that, with “sufficient foreign assistance,” Iran may have the capability to strike the U.S. with a missile by 2015.  This, teamed with Iran’s very obvious nuclear ambitions and a plethora of “what ifs” should sanctions fail, has many experts worried about what is to come.  As time progresses, Iranian leaders are making it clear that, regardless of Western pressures, nuclear plans are forging onward.

Over the past two weeks the Iran/U.S. saga has intensified.  Just days prior to the memo’s release, Gates told reporters that he does not anticipate Iranian ability to produce nuclear weapons for at least another year.  While this may seem like a settling piece of information, one year is hardly enough time to make viable headway with a nation that shows no signs of yielding. Gates vocalized this timeline in response to recent statements from Behzad Soltani, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.  According to Voice of America,

“Iran’s Fars news agency quotes the deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization as saying “no country would even think about attacking Iran” after it joins the nuclear club.  Fars also quotes the official, Behzad Soltani, as saying Iran plans to expand nuclear technology for “purposes other than energy and fuel production.”

This exchange of sorts occurred around the same time last week that President Obama met with 47 world leaders to discuss global nuclear security.  As Time Magazine reports, the event was an attempt by Obama to build support for international sanctions against Iran.   In warding off U.S. pressures, Time reports that “…Iran has relied on its commercial relations — especially with Russia and China — to thwart U.S. efforts to isolate Iran.”  Coincidently, Iran was not invited to Obama’s conference, so the nation held its own “summit” to counteract the U.S.-led event.  In sum, 60 nations were in attendance (13 more than attended the U.S. conference), including representatives from both Russia and China.

Following the wake of the memo’s release, Gates seems to be downplaying the concerns that the document has sparked.  However, the Jan. 2010 memorandum exposed appropriate urgency in a matter that can no longer be ignored.  In the original memo, Gates plainly stated that the U.S. “…does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability.”  In an effort to put the Jan. 2010 memo into context, Gates attempted to explain why he issued what some see as a “jolt to action” for the Obama administration.  Gates said,

“The memo was not intended as a ‘wake up call’ or received as such by the President’s national security team.  Rather, it presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision making process.”

In the end, regardless of the PR game administration officials are likely playing, the main story here is that the U.S. lacks long-term strategy in dealing with a dangerous and volatile rogue nation – a nation that is doing little to nothing to comply with international requests that it stop utilizing nuclear materials.  Regardless of what Gates intended, or believes for that matter, the lack of a solidified plan is more than evident.  So, the natural question is: Where do we go from here?

Obama’s nuclear summit was likely a starting point for what is to come.  On April 14, just four days before the now-infamous memo leaked, The Los Angeles Times quoted Gates as saying that a broad, international agreement is extremely important if the U.S. plans to make headway with Iran.  In fact, the Obama administration is pushing so hard for something viable that officials are willing to adopt weaker sanctions than they would like, so long as the United Nations and the international community join forces in furthering Iranian isolation.   According to the Times,

[Gates] said a Security Council resolution “provides a new legal platform” for individual nations or groups such as the European Union to take more stringent action. In that way, the UN resolution acts as a “launching pad” for economic strictures that are much tougher than those adopted by the world organization, [Gates]  said.

This indicates that the Obama administration is settling for whatever compromise its international colleagues are willing to make.  As a result of pushback from other nations, the U.S. has abandoned a push for a ban on petroleum heading to and coming from Iran.   With Turkey, China and Russia serving as potential blockades to Security Council action (the latter two have recently joined talks), U.N. sanctions may be weak at best.  Still, the Times notes that insiders believe that U.N. agreement, regardless of strength in tone, makes a statement to Iran and is essential to the formulation of smaller contingencies of nations that, under U.S. leadership, may embrace stricter sanctions.  While only time will tell how the scenario will play out, swift and stringent U.S. policy is surely due.

  • cowfy

    well let's all breath easier.now its we are prepared.it's like the old song."first you say you do and then you don't then you say you will and then you won't you'r undecided now so what are we going to doooooo!".omg.

  • Ze-ev ben Yehudah

    Of course,with an ignoramus in the oval office,one that seems to like
    moslims more than Jews.He will stay in the clear because he knows
    that Israel has no other option than to strike and eliminate Iran's
    nuclear power plants before they have nuke's.So at the end of it!!!!
    We have to do it ourselves…….like allways;ist it not?
    Calling for " Help us please Help us " has no meaning anymore,no
    one will answer.

  • Turbeaux

    You can throw all the diplomacy and sanctions at Iran you want. However, in the end only one thing will stop Iran’s nuclear quest and that is the eradication of the Iranian ruling Mullah regime and its nuclear weapons program. If we don’t have the will to act to stop Iran, then thermo-nuclear war will be on the horizon. Not to mention a race for nuclear weapons throughout the Sunni Muslim world.

    It’s déjà vu the decade of the 30s all over again. Will our leaders have the courage to act? Sadly, I doubt it.

    • http://www.intellectualconservative.com Steven Laib

      People in Government rarely learn the lessons of history. The names change but the behavior of the people remains the same. In every generation a new class of bullies arise to trouble the world. If the US doesn't deal with them it appears that no one will.

  • AmericanSoldier

    Any continental or intercontinental missile leaving Iran will be bought down on Iran. Iran or its Allies will not have a nuclear device. Iran citizens and peace loving citizens of the Muslim world need to be careful. Listen, people of Islam you must stop this hate among your people. History and God appears to favor the folks of the Jewish people. He may teach em' a lesson (for all to learn), but to place your bets on that occurring is suicide. Cause if it ain't "in the cards", and its not His Will, no one is going to hurt Israel. Even with our present, "administration of appeasement," Israel has me.

  • Steve Chavez

    Oh come on folks. Obama is prepared: prepared with memos criticizing and attacking Israel WHEN they have to attack! Wasn't there a U.S. official who said if Israel did attack, the U.S. would shoot down Israeli planes?

    Israel also unveiled a super large drone that is capable of carrying arms and can stay in the air for 24 hours.

    More and more, Israel is being painted into a corner!

    WHEN they attack, the world will actually be relieved but Obama will be the only one pissed at hell that he didn't get to sit down with Ahmadinejad!

  • Juice

    Islam is like termites silently eating away at your house. By the time this entire country wakes up and gets it we will be living in a very damaged house. We need to get rid of the termites now. I'm not talking about violence. I'm talking about outlawing the burqa and keeping an eye on the mosques and madrassas and if we find sedition, hatred and violence being preached then we charge them, jail them and deport them. Take no prisoners attitude. Muslims understand power, not civilized PC and niceness and tolerance. They perceive all of that as weakness.

  • Peter E. Coleman

    Iran has been a Year away for several Years now. In the spirit of proportional response-our plans are Years away too.

    Actually, Obama has a plan. He plans to do nothing. Why else would he cancel the F-22 along with some 60 other programs? Why buy something you have absolutely no plans to use? Think about it.

  • USMCSniper

    Obama is worse than dangerously delusional regarding Iran; his approach could constitute a fatal error, because Iran, in addition to developing nuclear weapons, seeks an arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles to add to its already frighteningly formidable arsenal of medium- and long-range ballistic missiles, and the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons the regime has developed and has also acquired from its anti-American, secular, Arab ally, Syria. So now is the time for Israel and the US to swiftly and decisively attack Iran. If the US won't go along, Israel will have to do it alone, and use any and all means necessary to protect its citizens from genocidal anhilation.

  • Mike Duff