Bush's UN Speech
David Frum, The National Review Online:
Make no mistake: boring as it was, the president's speech to the UN today was one of the most important of his presidency. It marks the final fizzling out of his Iran policy of the past three years. READ MORE
Since 2003, the Bush administration has pursued a diplomatic track against the emerging Iranian nuclear program. The tough talk of the "axis of evil" speech of 2002 faded into the background. Instead, the US would await the investigations of the International Atomic Energy Authority. While waiting, it deputed its allies Britain, France, and Germany to negotiate directly with Iran to discover whether any package of incentives might persuade the mullahs to reconsider their determination to acquire nuclear weapons.
Both those policies have reached their dead end. Iran has repeatedly deceived and rebuffed the IAEA. The direct negotiations have likewise failed, victims of Iranian intransigence and duplicity. Now the whole matter has been referred to the Security Council. And the Security Council is doing and will do ... precisely nothing. President Chirac of France just this very morning announced that he would not support any comprehensive Security Council sanctions program against Iran. Russia and China can be presumed to oppose even more firmly.
Did the president call on the Security Council to reconsider? Did he challenge the Iranian bomb program before the world? He did not. He said nothing about it. There will be no UN action, no Security Council sanctions, nothing. Not that they necessarily would have done any good, but they are out of the game. America's dwindling list of Iran options has dwindled further to just two: unilateral military action without any semblance of international approval to pre-empt the Iranian bomb program - or acquiescence in that program.
And I'm guessing that the option to emerge will be: acquiescence.
More on this subject in coming days.