Monday, March 30, 2015

That's What I'd Do (if I was a Nutball Mullah)

Does Iran have nuclear weapons sitting in North Korea? For a long time, that's what I figured I'd do in Iran's position.

I'm kind of surprised that this type of article isn't common:

But no inspections of Iranian sites will solve a fundamental issue: As can be seen from the North Korean base housing Tehran’s weapons specialists, Iran is only one part of a nuclear weapons effort spanning the Asian continent. North Korea, now the world’s proliferation superstar, is a participant. China, once the mastermind, may still be a co-conspirator. Inspections inside the borders of Iran, therefore, will not give the international community the assurance it needs.

This is the way I'd go, as I've been droning on for years. Here's one from a couple years ago, quoting a 2009 post:

The problem from Iran's point of view is that they can't know if crossing one of these lines could trigger an American or Israeli preemptive strike out of fear that further delay in attacking would be too late to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And if I was an Iranian nutball, I wouldn't assume the Americans and Israelis couldn't knock out my infrastructure.

Were I an Iranian nutball, under those circumstances, I'd want at least a few atomic warhead on hand before I announce capabilities to produce atomic weapons-grade material. Which would mean I'd have had to have bought some from either North Korea or Pakistan--or possibly even from some broke custodian of Russia's arsenal.

If Iran can announce both the ability to make nuclear bomb material and the possession of actual nuclear weapons--perhaps by detonating one in a test on their own territory--Tehran would quite possibly deter an attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

We're not dealing with idiots. If the Iranian mullahs believe there are red lines that trigger Israeli or American action, why wouldn't they take counter-actions rather than just blindly cross those lines and provide a pretext for military action against them?

Has Iran practiced the delivery run to get any nukes they subcontracted to North Korea?

Strategypage even mentioned this notion.

If I was the chief nutball (remember, they're crazy from our point of view but not stupid) in charge of negotiating with Kerry, I'd resist hammer and tong any inspections at all so that when I give in on essentially meaningless inspections because nobody will be inspecting the really key facilities abroad, Kerry and President Obama will crow over their masterful negotiating plan and declare victory.

Or Iran goes all hard-line on another meaningless concession that they can eventually "cave" on to allow Kerry to strut about like he's a 21st century Metternich:

With a negotiating deadline just two days away, Iranian officials on Sunday backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country.

Don't be too shocked if Iran "gives in" on this point.

And remember, by relaxing sanctions on Iran, we'd be allowing Iran to afford North Korea's price.

And remember, North Korea is desperate for cash to survive.

Once Iran has nuclear missiles, they can then ignore the West and turn their own buried facilities into the primary nuclear research and production facilities.

Even if we intercept the Iranians on the way home with a nuclear shipment, what if they make a run for a port and then threaten to detonate the nuke in port, allowing Iran the time to break out of the existing restrictions and build their own nukes inside Iran?

But by then it will be too late. Kerry will have his Nobel Peace Prize and no amount of nuclear fallout will pry it from his fingers. If the Obama administration gets its way, Iran will go nuclear, they won't be our friend, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey will go nuclear, and we will have a far worse war before it is all over.

Yet Kerry will think he was brilliant in 2015. I'd like to think that President Obama will feel shame for his error, but even if he does, what difference, at that point, would it make?

Have a super sparkly day.

UPDATE: Even a smart guy assumes the universe encompassing the terms of a negotiated deal is all that matters.

But what if focusing on the ramifications of the terms of the deal just doesn't really matter? What if it really is the regime that matters? What if all the focus on break-out times and sanctions misses the point that Iran is playing another game altogether?