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Reminding us all once again that the French have strange ideas about partnership and alliances, the Chirac government signaled to the Teheran mullahcracy that they would have no problem with Iran exporting nuclear technology to other Islamic nations:
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday that Paris would not object to Mr. Ahmadinejad's suggestion that Iran share its nuclear energy technology with other Islamic countries, as long as the Iranian program fully adhered to the international treaty against nuclear proliferation.
That comment came after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other U.S. officials said the idea of Iran sharing nuclear technology with anyone only underscored the dangers of Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Has France gone completely insane? The entire point of non-proliferation is to ensure that nuclear technology does not wind up in the hands of those who would use it for military purposes. Given that most of the Islamic nations that might want Iran to share their technology and capabilities have large stocks of cheap oil, why else would they want expensive and complicated nuclear reactors? Condoleezza Rice made the same point in her response, which now shows that the EU-3 cannot possibly represent the nonproliferation efforts of the West. France just offered Iran the right to set up another AQ Khan ring, only this time out in the open.
Russia matched France's retreat in the face of Iranian intransigence by refusing to support moving the issue to the UN Security Council. Despite personal diplomacy from George Bush, Putin instead talked in circles about diplomacy being the solution:
"The potential of diplomatic solutions to all these issues is far from exhausted," Putin said at a joint appearance with Bush in the East Room a day after meeting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "And we will undertake all steps necessary to settle all these problems and issues, not aggravate them. . . . We do not want our careless actions to lead to the development of events along the North Korean variant."
By that, Putin meant the heretofore fruitless attempts to force Pyongyang to give up its own weapons program -- a program that the North Koreans now say has yielded several nuclear bombs. North Korea has been brought before the Security Council in the past, only to have China block action against it. Now North Korea has abandoned the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether as it develops weapons, while six-party talks in Beijing involving the United States are stalemated.
None of that makes any sense at all. Part of the creation of the North Korean problem was the insistence in 1994 that the US meet unilaterally with North Korea rather than insist on a multilateral approach to pressure Pyongyang to comply. Now as then, Russia and others still insist that Bush's refusal to act unilaterally with the Kim regime keeps a solution from being reached. On Iran and North Korea, Russia and other nations abandon the multilateral UN approach that they claimed held the only legitimate authority to force Saddam Hussein to comply with his international obligations under treaty.
We are now faced with a nuclear Iran and allies that seem willing to offer endless appeasements, including the right to proliferate, rather than address the threat directly. The same nations that chastised George Bush for his unilateralism and lack of deference to the inaction of the UN now refuse to allow the UN to even hear the issue at all. If the UN had any value at all before this, the French and Russian capitulations show it as nothing more than an illusion of a global comity that spawns delusions of cooperation and friendship.Sphere It View blog reactions
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