Bolton: Obama 'has no new strategic thinking on Iran'

Posted Jul 29, 2009 by Michael Krebs
In an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal, John Bolton explains that an Israeli strike against Iran by year's end is not a surprise.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
While the Obama administration has been attempting to calm Israeli nerves over the prospects of a robust nuclear program in Iran, Israel has been steadily preparing to attack Iranian nuclear facilities - stating time and again that a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to Israel.
John Bolton, former U.N. Ambassador, was published in a Wall Street Journal OpEd on Wednesday and concluded that an Israeli attack by the end of the year should not be seen as a surprise. Mr. Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
"Iran’s progress with nuclear weapons and air defenses means Israel’s military option is declining over time," Mr. Bolton wrote. "It will have to make a decision soon, and it will be no surprise if Israel strikes by year’s end. Israel’s choice could determine whether Iran obtains nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future."
Bolton asserts that President Obama has been largely ineffective in persuading Israel to sit tight or in having any dialogue with Iran on the matter of nuclear proliferation.
"Mr. Obama’s approach to Tehran has been his 'open hand,' yet his gesture has not only been ignored by Iran but deemed irrelevant as the country looks inward to resolve the aftermath of its fraudulent election. The hardliner 'winner' of that election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was recently forced to fire a deputy who once said something vaguely soothing about Israel. Clearly, negotiations with the White House are not exactly topping the Iranian agenda," wrote Mr. Bolton.
Western nations would like to have firm answers from Iran, and there appears to be a deadline of late-September - timed around the G20 summit. It is unclear as to what the West will do should Iran miss that deadline.
"Striking Iran’s nuclear program will not be precipitous or poorly thought out. Israel’s attack, if it happens, will have followed enormously difficult deliberation over terrible imponderables, and years of patiently waiting on innumerable failed diplomatic efforts. Absent Israeli action, prepare for a nuclear Iran," Bolton concluded.