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April 13, 2006
UN And EU Continue Dithering

In the wake of the announcements from Iran of its success in uranium enrichment and its plan to immediately expand its cascade to 3,000 centrifuges, one might expect the United Nations Security Council to speak out strongly against Iran's intransigence and defiance of its unanimous resolution. One might also expect Europe to react to the humiliation Iran delivered to its diplomatic corps, which had worked for years to reach a negotiated solution on non-proliferation with the mullahcracy.

Well, if one expected those actions, one would have to live with disappointment:

Leading countries on the U.N. Security Council expressed dismay Wednesday over Tehran's announcement that it had produced enriched uranium, although there was little sign of consensus among them on how to respond. ...

Russia and China, also key members of the council, struck a more equivocal tone, raising concerns about Iran's actions but also warning against any precipitous international action. Both say they are reluctant to back economic sanctions, one possible tool in attempting to force Iranian compliance. ...

Leading European governments, which have been most active in negotiations with Iran, were restrained in their response but were clearly perturbed by Tehran's announcement.

They are examining the possibility of imposing economic sanctions on their own if the Security Council cannot agree on strong action.

Such sanctions would be a hard sell domestically in Europe because a number of countries have lucrative trade deals with Iran and have invested heavily in the country.

In other words, the Iranian announcement disturbed the international community, but not to the point where they feel it necessary to actually take any action outside of clucking their tongues and wagging their fingers at the Iranians. the Europeans may feel compelled to deny Iranians the opportunity to purchase some luxury items, the Los Angeles Times reports, and may restrict travel for officials of the Teheran regime. Even the Europeans admit that this lame response will have absolutely no effect on the Iranians, and so predictably that's as far as they're willing to go.

In the meantime, the Iranians continue to issue more provocations. Today they claimed during a visit by the IAEA's Mohammed ElBaradei that their nuclear drive is "unstoppable". While the New York Times continues to insist that the Iranians are a decade away from developing a nuclear weapon, others note that estimate is based on the 164-centrifuge cascade. The Iranian plan for immediate expansion to 3,000 centrifuges cuts the enrichment cycle for weapons-grade fissile material to nine months, and no one thinks it will take more than one or two years to build that cascade.

Once again, the UNSC has shown itself as a haven for appeasers and enablers. Even when Iran admits to enriching uranium and announces plans to do so on an "industrial" scale -- even when it throws a party with big banners in English to celebrate its defiance -- the collective will of the UNSC and Europe amounts to cutting off Iran from its supplies of Rolls Royces and caviar. They will not risk their commercial interests to restrain the Iranians either economically or diplomatically.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In the meantime, the Democrats continue to cast their foreign-policy platform around strengthening international institutions as a means of securing the US. It sounds great in theory, but in practice for at least since the end of the Cold War, these international institutions have proven themselves more likely to protect nothing more than the tributes paid to them by the same people who threaten our security, and member states more interested in using these institutions to block any effort to address proliferants and genocidal maniacs. The UN has shown no interest in solving any problem, preferring to stick its collective head in the sand until either the problem drops off the radar screen or someone resolves it for them.

We can no longer put our trust and our security in the UN, if indeed we ever could. It remains nothing more than a debating society, perhaps a useful one, but it will never act in defense of freedom or security. We need to focus on managing our own multilateral alliances outside of Turtle Bay, and that need has never been more pressing than with the situation in Iran.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 13, 2006 6:02 AM

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