Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Romantics vs. fanatics

We all know that Tookie Williams was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but that it went to the IAEA. In today's WSJ, former Swedish deputy PM Per Ahlmark makes the case for a recount. No, not to give it to Tookie (he's no longer with us) but, instead, to Kenneth Timmerman and John Bolton -- who had been right all along about the mullah's nuclear ambitions.

We do not know if the romantics of the world will be the death of us all but who wants to find out?

Speaking of Nobelists, economics laureate Tom Schelling has been citing the post-WW II history of the nuclear taboo and has been arguing that if and when Iran gets the bomb, they can be held to honor it with the right kind of diplomacy. To me, this is a very thin reed. These are primitives and fanatics with Armageddon fantasies.

Let the Nobel Go Nuclear
WSJ, By PER AHLMARKFebruary 7, 2006; Page A26

"Let us focus on the good guys. The fools of the Iranian nuclear tragedy we already know. The International Atomic Energy Agency was duped for 18 years. Since its start in 1985, Iran's atomic program has been an ambitious, highly deceptive project. However, the IAEA gave the regime a clean bill of nuclear health, over and over again. The first 12 of those years, gullible Hans Blix, IAEA director general, believed in almost everything Tehran told him. He arrogantly dismissed warnings. The likely Blix legacy: atomic bombs in the hands of the mullahs. His successor, Mohamed ElBaradei, inherited the illusions in 1997 and proceeded on a similar path. But disclosures by experts in the West -- confirmed by militant groups within Iran -- made the IAEA denial absurd. Mr. ElBaradei revealed the truth on Nov. 10, 2003, in a stunning report to the IAEA board of governors: Iran had been lying to the IAEA for almost two decades.

"Who, in all this, are the good guys? Did the Norwegian Nobel Committee realize the gathering storm in Iran when it last year decided to give its peace prize to the IAEA? Maybe they chose to award a U.N. agency, which had been a fiasco for so long, hoping the prize would speed up its recovery. If so, a beautiful idea. My feeling is different. It's time to express admiration of personalities who have not been cheated by the Iranians. That's why I have nominated two Americans for the Nobel peace prize for 2006. One is an independent researcher who never gave up his quest to uncover the truth, the other a government official. Separately, but on parallel tracks, they have been alerting us that a tremendous threat to peace is in the offing.

"Kenneth Timmerman has for 20 years exposed Iran's nuclear intentions. In books, reports, speeches, articles and private meetings he has told us of specific detail as well as the big picture -- a full-fledged, official plan to game the system of international safeguards. His latest book, 'Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran,' lays this out in chilling detail; and it was his report for the Wiesenthal Center in 1992 that first detailed Iran's ties to Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan.

"John Bolton, former undersecretary of state, has with unusual energy tried to find ways to counter this threat. Friends and foes agree -- he never gives up. He has repeatedly underlined the threat of Iran pursuing two paths to nuclear weapons: One is the use of highly enriched uranium, achieved by thousands of centrifuges, which Iran has developed and tested. A large buried facility at Natanz is intended to house up to 50,000 centrifuges. Iran resumed activities there just four weeks ago (in direct defiance of the IAEA). The second is through plutonium. Mr. Bolton knows that a heavy-water production plant and the Bushehr light-water reactor can be exploited as cover for sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities. He says another 'unmistakable indicator' of nuclear intentions is Iran's habit of 'repeatedly lying to and providing false reports to the IAEA.'

"The danger is even more serious as Iran is a leading sponsor of terrorism. Mr. Bolton, now U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is also a father of the Proliferation Security Initiative, an international effort to interdict shipments of WMD components, materials and the ballistic missiles needed to deliver them. Thanks to this PSI, the U.S. and others managed to seize centrifuge components en route to Libya in 2003. This led to the breakup of the network of A.Q. Khan, mastermind of the proliferation business in recent years.

"European leaders have become a bit more active than before when supporting united efforts to prevent Iran from going nuclear. But there is still a sense of wishful thinking around them. Don't they understand that Iran's messianic President Ahmadinejad is serious when he says "wipe Israel off the map"? Appeasing fanatics does not work. We have learned that already in the last century. The work of John Bolton and Kenneth Timmerman provide stark reminders of that most important lesson of history."