Iran, as does North Korea, now poses a great threat as it seeks to gain nuclear weapons capability. With U.S. help, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency are actively engaged in the effort to turn Iran back from this course. All five UN Security Council permanent members voted in the IAEA to refer the Iran problem to the Security Council. Now the permanent five plus Germany have initiated inducements for change in Iran's nuclear program with at least implied sanctions should Iran remain defiant. What further action will be taken is uncertain as of this writing. Just as France declares without qualification that Iran seeks a nuclear weapon and the IAEA reports on multiple Iranian deceptions, China is negotiating a further deal for Iranian oil.
Iran seems convinced that its actions, as in restarting its enrichment facilities, will have no adverse consequences. It sees no strength behind the diplomacy. We must be ready to summon the will - and persuade others to join us - to use economic and political strength - and ultimately force - to deal with this situation if multilateral diplomacy and collective security are to be credibleâ€¦.
Meanwhile, we now know from the huge number of captured documents produced by Saddam Hussein's regime that in Iraq there were in existence three training centers for terrorists with apparently some 8,000 or so trainees. We must identify who the trainees are, learn the methods they have been trained to use and their connections to other countries, and, to the extent that these terrorists are operating in Iraq today, do everything possible to get them out of circulation before they go elsewhereâ€¦.
â€¦ [W]e must not let up on the reality that we are at war and will continue to be so for a long time to come. Some commentators have noted that the length of time from 9/11 to today is longer than World War II. This is the wrong analogy; what we face is more akin to the decades-long struggle of the Cold War.
And being at war, we must retain the option and the will to use force - even as we pair that option with intensive diplomacy. Given the ongoing military task we face in Iraq and the political pressure against President Bush, it is being assumed by many around the world, friends and enemies alike, that the United States cannot undertake another major military operation, let alone see the effort in Iraq through to success. This is a dangerous perception, one that will only heighten the likelihood of further warfare unless it is dispelled.
At the end of President Bush's first term it could be said, correctly, that now the United States could begin to make the transition from the first-term emphasis on strength to a second-term focus on diplomacy. In very large part we are doing that. But the option for military action on even a large scale, such as a sustained air campaign to cripple Iran's nuclear weapons program, must remain alive as a last resort. The more alive it is in the minds of our adversaries, the more likely it is that we never will have to use that military option.
The American eagle on the Great Seal must continue to look toward the olive branch but, just as important, must keep a powerful cluster of arrows in its grasp.