Sunday, January 01, 2006

Chicken with Mushrooms

Steve Forbes believes the major international “hot potato” for 2006 will be the showdown with the Mullahs ruling Iran over their nuclear weapon program.
Mushrooming Crisis: Iran's soon-to-be successful push for atomic weapons, not the Iraq war, will be the global hot potato of 2006. All diplomatic efforts to dissuade Tehran from going nuclear have predictably failed. Russia is not going to pull this radioactive chestnut out of the fire, either, even though members of the Bush Administration still pretend it will. … Last month Iran cut a deal with Russia to buy an advanced weapons system that can destroy incoming missiles and laser-guided bombs. Russia also helped Iran launch a satellite that could give early warning of an air attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.
German periodical Der Spiegel is making a splash claiming the US is warning European leaders about impending attacks against Iranian nuclear weapon and military facilities.
Is Washington Planning A Military Strike? According to Ulfkotte's report, "western security sources" claim that during CIA Director Porter Goss' Dec. 12 visit to Ankara, he asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide support for a possibile 2006 air strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities. More specifically, Goss is said to have asked Turkey to provide unfettered exchange of intelligence that could help with a mission.
Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House makes his usual coherent and convincing case that the Spiegel story is an intentional leak, specifically planted in the European media and directly aimed at the Iranian government.
Happy New Year President Ahmaninejad This leak is not very subtle in its implications. The reason for that is simple; the United States government feels it absolutely vital that Iran get the message clearly and unmistakably. Also, it is hard to match the subtley of Ahmadinejad whose diplomatic tip toeing resembles an elephant walking across a field of eggshells. Saying you will “wipe Israel off the map” is not very subtle and hence, the response “we will bomb the crap out of you” is entirely appropriate.
The game of chicken has begun and the consequences of bad judgment include the real potential for an exchange of nuclear weapons and a collapse of oil production and delivery to the United States. I still believe both the military and government of the United States have a complete aversion to the use of nuclear bombs, but for the sake of credibility they are taking steps to insure that the old warheads in our possession will work. See: Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW)
An Uncertain Role For US Nuclear Weapons While slashing the funds for the development of bunker busters, US Congress meanwhile approved a seemingly more modest program called reliable replacement warhead (RRW) aimed at maintaining America’s existing nuclear capabilities.

Fears about potential loopholes aside, the adopted RRW program will first and foremost allow the US government to keep its already existing nuclear weapons in proper working condition. And this is an important prerequisite if the US wants to keep a nuclear deterrent in the 21st century. As a former US official explained: “The worst thing to have is the notion that you have a deterrent but it’s based on systems that you can’t rely on.”
We all know that time is a continuum and human events keep moving irrespective of the labels placed on short term segments. Israel is a product of World War Two which was the product of World War One and so forth. The Cold War is over but Russia still exists and while the Kremlin blinked in the game of nuclear chicken, they may want to see what happens if less rational zealots keep pushing, eyes wide open, into the abyss.