Are we paying attention to foreign threats?
The economic downturn, the deficit and debt crisis, the struggle businesses have in making payroll, the challenge many people now face to find work — all of these issues, naturally, are front-and-center in the headlines, on Main Street, on Capitol Hill, on the campaign trail. Foreign policy — despite the tumult in the Middle East — has receded from public awareness. It’s understandable, for example, that people’s interest in Iraq and Afghanistan should wane. Consider how Iraq and Afghanistan have turned out — nearly a decade later, neither has been the success we were led to expect. But there’s a real danger in turning our attention away from foreign policy: the threats we face continue to grow.
Take one major example: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capability. In a column at the New York Post, Peter Brookes helpfully spells out the latest dismaying news about Iran. He writes that “despite all the bloviating, finger-wagging and sloppy United Nations sanctions, there doesn’t seem to be much — if anything — holding back the ayatollahs’ atomic aspirations.”
…Iran is outfitting its new nuclear facility at Qom with new centrifuges — which experts believe will permit it to further increase uranium-enrichment levels far beyond what’s needed for peaceful nuclear-reactor fuel.
The “fissile fortress” at Qom — located on a Revolutionary Guard base and securely tucked into the side of a mountain — is pretty clearly meant to produce the highly enriched uranium needed for the making of Iran’s first bombs.
It’s been estimated Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium on hand to produce enough highly enriched uranium for two to three bombs in relatively short order. And the IAEA (from its own detective work and intel provided by members) has “increasing concern” that Iran’s peaceful nuclear program has a military angle.
That is, the IAEA fears Tehran is working on a nuke warhead to put that uranium in.
Bear in mind that this news comes from an IAEA report, and that the organization (in Brookes’s aptly phrase) is “always-cautious-and-slow-to-accuse.”
image: wiki commons