Exclusive: Nuclear Terrorism: The President of the United States Hung Up the Phone (Part Eight of Ten)

by PETER HUESSY April 21, 2010
The President of the United States hung up the phone. A top French official had just promised that France would support the American led coalition in stopping Saddam Hussein. Apparently progress was being made. Word was that the German Chancellor had promised not to make the U.S. effort an issue in the forthcoming elections. Hopefully, Germany would stay on board, too.
The President knew the upcoming vote at the United Nations would probably not secure the active support of either the Russians or the Chinese, but they might abstain. The chattering classes and their allies in the drive-by media would need a positive vote at Turtle Bay – in their world it was the only means of conveying legitimacy on what the US was planning to do.
His Secretary of State had also been promised by the French ambassador that Paris was fully on board with the UN resolution authorizing the use of military force. One of the most evil regimes in the world could not be allowed to keep or again acquire the most evil of weapons.
While the critics claimed it was just about oil, it was but it wasn’t. With that much wealth under the control of one tyrant, coercing his neighbors with such weapons, the fate of the industrial world’s economies would be subject to the whims of a butcher not only of his own people but others around the region. Thousands of terrorists trained in his country could be exported throughout the world armed with the technology of the world’s most terrifying weapons. It wasn’t about cars, it was about car bombs.
In the spring of 2003 the French betrayed the U.S. President, as did the German Chancellor. Both counties worked overtime to support Saddam and block UN action. The Russians and Chinese also actively worked to end the economic sanctions against Iraq. Now they were scuttling any possible UN action. For these folks, it was indeed all about oil. Russia wanted to continue its lucrative arms trade with Baghdad, made possible of course because of Iraq’s oil wealth. Trade with Iraq by Paris and Bonn had continued to grow even under UN sanctions. It was nothing personal, of course, it was just business. 
A decade later, the U.S. is again trying to secure the help of these same nations. But not with Iraq. It is Iran this time. At stake is not whether Tehran does or does not have “stockpiles” of chemical or biological weapons. It is whether they are pursuing an atomic bomb. For over two decades, Iran’s nuclear program had been shrouded in secrecy and the mists of a totalitarian state.
But now we know. Enriched uranium is being made, now at least at the 20 percent level. Nuclear triggers have been purchased, technology that makes an atomic bomb explode. Evidence mounts of repeatedly attempts by the Pakistani-based Khan network, a “Nukes ‘R Us” conglomerate, to sell nuclear weapons to Iran. Rafsanjani, known by the Western media as a “moderate” Iranian leader, has openly discussed the destruction of Israeli from one well-placed Iranian nuclear weapon. President Ahmadinejad has called for both the destruction of Israel and wished for a world “without the United States”. He believes the end of the world is required to bring back the 12th Imam or “Mahdi.”  
Iran is the chief state sponsor of terrorism in the world today. As George Gilder in The Israeli Test explains,
“The reality is that Hezbollah and Hamas are creatures of Iran, that Al Qaeda is harbored by Pakistan, that the PLO depends upon Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations, and that the …Islamic Jihad and Hamas all subsist on Syrian support. North Korea aids Iran and Pakistan and their nuclear ambitions, which portend the most extreme threat that terrorism poses.” 
He continues, quoting from Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress after 9/11:
“There is no international terrorism without the support of sovereign states…Terrorists are not suspended in midair. They train, arm, and indoctrinate their killers from within safe havens in the territories provided by terrorist states…”
Our President’s new START treaty, the nuclear summit and the forthcoming review conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are all designed to create a “cascade of open doors”, leading to sufficient international pressure on Iran to reverse its nuclear weapons program and bring its entire nuclear programs under the purview and inspection of the Vienna-based UN International Atomic Energy Administration.
This all flows from the belief by former high U.S. officials such as William Perry, George Schultz, Sam Nunn and Henry Kissinger that only with a concerted effort by much of the “international community” will we be able to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and prevent another cascade of nuclear proliferation, starting in the Middle East and spreading elsewhere.
The theory is that the U.S. has not, up to this point, been sufficiently mindful of its obligations under the NPT of moving to a world without nuclear weapons, what is now termed “Global Zero.” By demonstrating its commitment to move smartly toward a nuclear weapons free world, the United States could then lead other nations in a cooperative effort to place sufficient pressure on Iran – and other “proliferation outliers” to stop the Mullah’s thirst for nuclear weapons.
Thus the U.S. and Russia signed an agreement to reduce our deployed nuclear weapons by what Ambassador Linton Brooks, our START I negotiator, calls “a good but modest step” toward resetting the relationship with Russia. This was followed by the summit on securing nuclear material which concluded an agreement with Russia on eliminating excess stocks of weapons grade plutonium – some 35 tons from each country – which dated from 2000. This was a complement to the already completed work of eliminating hundreds of tons of weapons grade enriched uranium from Russia which has been burned in American reactors, a real “megatons to megawatts” success story.
At the beginning of the Reagan administration, the Director of the CIA, William Casey, asked the agency for an assessment of whether the Soviet Union supported terrorism. The report came back with an emphatic “No!” Casey further inquired why such a conclusion was reached. Returned to his office were copies of Tass and Pravda editorials denying Soviet involvement in terrorism.
Casey’s question was not an idle one. A debate was raging in Washington about terrorism, especially the source of support for the communist rebels in El Salvador and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, as well as the European based groups such as Bader Meinhof and Red Brigades. Reagan’s Secretary of State Al Haig had said we “had to go to the source,” and by this he meant the Soviet Union. He was right.
The left was convinced, however, that terrorists and communist rebels were homegrown agrarian reformers, upset with American imperialism. They dismissed the idea, brilliantly portrayed by Claire Sterling in her “Hydra of Carnage,” that terrorism was something far more than “home grown” activists concerned solely with “social justice.” How wrong they were. The Reagan administration engaged in total economic, political and at some levels military war against the Soviet Union.
We sold them bogus high technology for their weapons; we eliminated billions from their Treasury by getting the Saudi government to dramatically increase oil production –giving the U.S. and the industrial world’s economies a tremendous push, while significantly reducing Soviet export income by billions. We made them pay dearly for their misadventures in Afghanistan, Angola and El Salvador by raising their costs in blood and treasure.
We in large part stopped deliveries to Western Europe by interdicting the huge Siberian gas pipeline project scheduled to double Moscow’s hard currency earnings (delaying the first strand of the pipeline deal and killing the second strand). We cut off access to taxpayer-subsidized Western government loans to Moscow, discouraged private sector lending and stopped their entry into the world’s bond markets. We strengthened multilateral export controls to raise the cost and difficulty of the Soviet technology theft program.
Most importantly, we modernized our military, while deploying new Peacekeeper ICBMs, Pershings and GLCMs in Europe, the new Trident submarine and D-5 missile, the B2 stealth bomber, and a host of modernized conventional equipment critical to the defense of NATO and our Pacific allies. In short, we took the Soviet threat seriously. We also understood the Soviet’s founding role in most of the world’s terror organizations.
We are now facing a similar struggle with a new primary terror master state in Iran. But the Soviets did not want to go join any 72 virgins, at least not anytime soon. They were not motivated by a warped doctrine of bringing war to all the world’s Jews and Christians in a new Holocaust from which the 12th Imam or Mahdi would emerge victorious. Thus the threat of annihilation may be an incentive for Tehran, not a deterrent!
But since 1979 when the Islamic state in Iran was created, the U.S. and its allies have been less than serious about the threat Tehran represents. Sanctions to date have been relatively weak. States have “voluntary” pledged to be “vigilant” but have often done little if anything to put economic pressure on the Mullahs.
The UN is going to take up its fourth round of negotiations on sanctions, with China and Russia once again pledging not to support anything but modest, ineffective sanctions. This will appeal to those in love with the “cosmetics of deals.” We will have secured a UN resolution. It will be described as “multilateral.” We will hear much from the media about the “will of the international community” and “joint action,” even as we know not much will have changed.
Through simple public pressure, organizations such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have led an effort in part to get companies to curtail the export of refined petroleum products to Iran which depends upon refined petroleum for forty percent of its gasoline. Legislation to do this is pending in Congress. Already, eight of the major suppliers have all agreed to stop such commerce with Tehran. Even Russian based Lukoil pledged it will not sell such products to Iran.
But such progress apparently has been short-lived. The Chinese government announced this week it would be supplying Tehran the refined petroleum products it needed, just as the U.S. Congress was considering completing legislation calling for such sanctions against firms that supply such goods to Iran. While we do not know what promise Russia or China made to our country, we do know throughout the past year they have been coy about their intentions. The Russians have clearly been against sanctions that are “to tough,” while the Chinese cling to their formula of “negotiations and diplomacy” as the proper prescription.
Apparently we will get only weak sanctions at the UN. Hardly the reset of relations we were hoping for. But we can act ourselves, especially in concert with our European allies. France and Germany have been particularly outspoken about the need to get serious about Iran. As President Sarkozy has noted, “We do not live in a virtual world,” as he called for real and serious action against Iran.
We know China has been complicit in the trafficking of both nuclear and missile technology to Iran. A year ago the attorney for the City of New York filed an 108-count indictment against a Chinese company. Recent reports in the Wall Street Journal have detailed additional Chinese efforts to smuggle nuclear weapons useable technology to Iran from Switzerland via Chinese firms in Taiwan. We know the PRC has helped Iran with its ballistic missiles as well. New reports conclude China has helped build self-sustaining technology development centers in Iran and Pakistan for building nuclear weapons.
How long will the United States and its allies continue to do business as usual with those who do business with Iran? This question is not trivial. Iran seeks to detonate a nuclear bomb in an American or Israeli city. A terror cell created just for that purpose, trained and made operational is likely. Even our own intelligence community now believes Iran within a year will have sufficient weapons grade material to build a bomb.
Americans will receive no satisfaction if after a nuclear device explodes in a Manhattan parking garage, we decide to retaliate against Tehran, assuming we can even determine through nuclear finger printing or forensics the origin of the blast. We will forever be held hostage, with our freedom and liberty collapsing around us, and the “last, best hope” for mankind will indeed have been replaced by “a world without the United States.”
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting company in Potomac, Maryland.

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