Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock

from The Last Crusade (thanks Michael Travis)

While Obama slept
Ed Lasky

We now know that Barack Obama has sat for almost a year on the information regarding Iran’s “secret” nuclear plant. His hand was forced yesterday by the Iranians who were the ones that went public with the information when it appeared to them that their security had been breached. This led to Barack Obama disclosing the previously withheld information regarding the plant. The Iranians kept the plant secret and Obama aided them by his silence. So much for the transparency promise.

What damage has been caused by Obama’s withholding this information from the world?

Instead of focusing his attention and efforts on Iran – a major geopolitical problem – he chose focus his efforts…where, exactly? The stimulus bill was cooked up by Congress; his health care reform efforts are stalled; cap and trade seems D.O.A. Instead of using his impressive rhetorical ability and his bully pulpit to focus on Iran, he bullied Israel over settlements and castigated and insulted American businessmen, Republicans, town hall resisters, doctors, policemen, and a wider range of Americans (and America).

Yet, he praised the Islamic Republic of Iran and apologized for America’s actions in the Middle East. He held out his hand to a regime that denies the Holocaust while plotting to commit another one, and has a history of lying repeatedly to the international community while murdering away around the world (including its own citizens, uh..subjects).

Obama has given Iran more time to develop nuclear weapons. But is there more damage that Obama has caused?

He has allowed Iran time and wiggle room to escape the brunt of the one type of sanction that once held promise to restrain Iran: crafting and enforcing sanctions on companies and nations that export refined gas to Iran (Iran has been unable to build its own refinery capacity to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding population. That is what happens when you turn industry over to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards; they make American government bureaucrats seem efficient).

In the last year, threats of sanctions on those few companies and nations that supply Iran with gasoline and heating oil have been partially effective. But the serious pressure would have come from sanctions passed by Congress. Had this bill passed other nation’s may have been persuaded to follow America in sanctioning the regime.

There has been a bill in Congress – the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act – that has been bottled up by Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in deference to Obama’s “diplomacy”, Now it appears that Congressman Berman is piqued that Barack Obama had information regarding Iran’s duplicity and hid it from prying eyes. Berman writes an op-ed in today’s Washington Post indicating that he intends to move on the bill in the coming months.

But it may be too late, and this fact shows the damage Obama has caused by withholding information from the American people and the world community.

In the past few months , Iran has arranged to import gasoline from other nations (China and Venezuela, among them) that will be less susceptible to pressure from America. Refineries are being built in Iran with Chinese help. Syria, Iran’s ally, is building refineries with Venezuelan help. The months that Obama has given Iran – with nothing but venom and braggadocio in return – has given Iran leeway to diversify its sources of oil. Its Achilles Heel is no longer very vulnerable. The Iranians have taken countermeasures to eviscerate the threat and potency of sanctions.

As Helen Thomas might say, Thank you, Mr. President.

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