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March 18, 2006

Some signals are not as "strong and clear" as they should be

I've discovered Regime Change Iran and its round up of news relating to a country with "suspect" nuclear aspirations. It's mostly links and quotes of news articles, but the subtleties of the Iran situation are often left out of major news headlines - so having an extensive list of articles to peruse is quite useful.

The real question is...What kind of useful things are the articles describing? The answer: apparently not much. Friday's Daily Briefing (posted on Thursday) said John Bolton was "very encouraged" about the Security Council discussions on Iran. Well, sure. But what does that mean?

Again...not much. On Friday, RCI linked a Fox News Article quoting Bolton as saying "The mood of the discussion is certainly in the direction of a strong and clear signal to Iran on the part of the Security Council."

I agree that the signal is strong, but I think the content of the signal is more important than the strength. What is the Security Council strongly signaling?

Here's what I know they are strongly signaling:
* We are talking about Iran
* We are talking about Iran and its nuclear weapons program
* We are determined to keep talking about it
* We are so determined that we are not complaining about the fact that Russia and China are trying to drag this out as long as possible

Fox assumes early in the article that the council is determined that this strong and clear signal will be concerning Iran's "suspect nuclear program."

No kidding. But what is contained in the signal? That's the whole point. The UN is already communicating a bunch of things just by sitting around and having discussions. When it finally releases a formal statement, I don't know how strong and clear it will be or what it will ask but I'm not all that hopeful. Mostly because of this last paragraph:

The diplomats will try to come up with a "clear strategy" on what happens next, Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Konstantin Dolgov told The Associated Press. "We need to have an agreed way ahead within the IAEA, in the Security Council."
You see? They are planning a strategy about what to do next. In other words, they aren't deciding what to do next, they are planning about making a plan about what to do next.

Springing into action indeed.

This reminds me of something I read just this morning from James Lileks' 2005 roundup in The American Enterprise:

Iran announces it will no longer allow inspectors into the Khomeini Memorial Peaceful Nuclear Research Facility for Hastening the Destruction of Israel. European diplomats threaten to take the matter to the U.N. Subcommittee of the Task Force for Occasionally Threatening to Issue a Strongly-Worded Report. But the group's next meeting isn't until 2007, and it must first take up the horror of Israel's security fence. Iran promises to allow inspections in exchange for 500 million Euros, payable in coins of enriched uranium. The E.U. agrees, with the condition that the interest rate on the loan will be adjusted upward if Iran makes nuclear bombs. If they actually detonate a bomb there would be an immediate balloon payment, make no mistake about it.

"Occasionally Threatening to Issue a Strongly-Worded Report"?
Yeah. That sounds about right.

Posted by Abigail at March 18, 2006 01:46 PM

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