In a high-profile speech today in Berlin, President Obama announced his plan to “seek negotiated cuts with Russia” in order to reduce America’s “deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third.” The prudence of Obama’s plan, however, remains far from certain due to many stubborn problems.
Six months after it was first hinted at, and a month after widespread reports surfaced, the United Nations, Britain, and France have all just confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Yet, there has been no U.S. response to Syria’s increasingly clear violation of President Obama’s publicly stated red line. This lack of action raises serious questions about the resoluteness of U.S. policy when it comes to another potential “game-changer” in the region: Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
The Obama administration now believes that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad may have used chemical weapons. Today the White House released a letter explaining that the American “intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specially the chemical agent sarin.”
On CBS this morning, Valerie Jarrett, a close advisor to President Obama, reacted to the news that North Korea had conducted a nuclear test last night by saying, "We're heartened to see the U.N. Security Council will be meeting" this morning to discuss the issue.
This past weekend the Christian Science Monitorreported that Stuxnet, the original computer virus detected in the American-led cyber war against Iran’s nuclear program, was set to deactivate on June 24. That just so happens to be “seven years to the day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president.”
The Obama administration’s recent focus on finding a compromise to allow the Iranian regime to maintain some enrichment capabilities “for peaceful purposes” distracts from the underlying nuclear threat at hand.
A key feature of the negotiations with the Iranians over their nuclear program is doublespeak. To be more precise, you’ll notice that Iranian officials offer different accounts of what they are--and are not--willing to consider. Moreover, the meaning behind their words is often left obscure.