Global Security Headlines

Saturday, November 28, 2009

US on Right Side of Honduran Crisis, finally

 Fledgling US President Obama seems to have a firmer footing in Latin America by supporting the presidential elections in Honduras on Sunday despite rankling some countries in the region, as outlined in
Obama Backing of Honduras Election Crimps Latin Ties.

 The Administration´s first stance supporting the restitution of constitutionally-removed former president Mel Zelaya was incomprehensible. Foreign assistance was cut off and visas were canceled for members of interim President Micheletti´s government.

Slowly Washington evolved its thinking (prodded by US Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina, a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee) on the Honduran Crisis by silently rejecting the popular narrative spun by the Castro-Chavez Axis as a ´´coup´´ in another Latin American country. Unfortunately, the international press picked up the line and complicated a sober and honest assessment of the facts on the ground in Tegucigalpa.

No coup occurred when the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court acted to save the country and ordered Zelaya´s removal from the presidency.  The near-coup actually happened when Zelaya rolled the dice in an illegal and naked power grab in a rigged national referendum to perpetuate himself in power. He failed to copy the success of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia to install competitive autocracy through the ballot box.

As quoted in ''Impasse em Honduras amplia divisão político-ideológica na região''(Impasse in Honduras Widens Ideological Division in Region), Clodoaldo Bueno, a foreign policy professor at the University of São Paulo, believes ''Little by little, other countries will probably end up recognizing the election as the only possible solution because there will not be an ideal one.''

 The Honduran Crisis is more than a tug-o-war of who leads Honduras. The bigger picture is a test of wills between two competing ideologies of Washington and the Castro-Chavez Axis in the region.

The only crimped ''Latin ties'' of importance are with Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Standing for free elections and democractic values should not be so controversial.

The weight of Washington´s endorsement of the elections should also influence the European Union and individual states to give their unqualified support as well to finally conclude this difficult time for the people of Honduras who have been the first to forestall a Castro-Chavez takeover of their country. 

The United States does need to pay greater attention to its southern border as both China and Iran forge closer ties. Building pluralist civil societies and improving trade relations, like passing the free trade agreement with Colombia, could help countries in the region to decide upon the political and economic model best for them. That is the their decision not populists who want to change the rules of the game once past the ballot box.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spy Case Latest Flap between Peru and Chile

The tit-for-tat existence that somehow constitutes bilateral relations between Peru and Chile hit a new low as Lima accused Santiago of spying earlier in the month as the Americaeconomia writes in : Caso de espionaje desata crisis entre Chile y Perú (´´Spy case unleashes crisis between Chile and Peru´´).

(pictured above: President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Alan Garcia of Peru)

The two South American neighbors confront a simmering maritime dispute (heated up in March over Peru´s petition before the UN to definitively resolve the matter) over fishing and sovereignty rights in the Pacific Ocean and a bi-lateral trade agreement now generating some doubts.

The  cheeky Salitre military exercises, led by Chile involving Argentina, Brazil, France and the US - but not Peru - is a recent irritant from October. The exercise included a hypothetical invasion of Chile (read Peru). Add historical humiliation at the hands of Santiago (War of Pacific naval defeat at Casma in 1839) and you have the perfect ingredients for mutual suspicions, lack of cross-border confidence, and a brimming arms race.

Enter the spy scandal.

Given Chile´s air superiority, Peru became infatuted with MiG 29 Fulcrums in the late 1990s, but bought them from Belarus on the cheap and Russia at first would not service them. Now, an expected and long-needed upgrade perhaps piqued interest by Chilean Air Force (FACh) intelligence as identifiied by the alleged perpetrator (non-commissioned officer Victor Ariza Mendoza) in fragments of his interrogation conveniently published in Lima´s national daily, El Comercio (original + translation):

{0>3 ¿Cree que sus contactos forman una red internacional dedicada al espionaje?<}0{>
3 ¿Cree que sus contactos forman una red internacional dedicada al espionaje? ¿Quienes la forman?
No lo puedo precisar pero lo que puedo interpretar es que son hombres de inteligencia de la Fuerza Aérea Chilena y como tal se dedican a la obtención de información en sus diversas modalidades de acuerdo a principios y doctrinas de inteligencia que son aplicables a todos los servicios de inteligencia de las FF.AA.

Question #3 - Do you believe your contacts were part of an international spy ring? Who are your contacts?
I cannot say that, but what I do know is that the men were from Chilean air force intelligence and operated like military intelligence.

The explosive confession about files on Peru´s MiG-29 SMT (fighter) and Matra Magic-2 air-to-air missiles supposedly passed to Santiago in meetings in Chile and later in Uruguay ignited the latest row.

In a strongly worded diplomatic note, Lima demanded a clear explanation and Santiago said it would ´´study´´ the dossier handed over by Peru regarding the matter.

While few observers expect an armed confrontation between Peru and Chile (mutual business interests perhaps usurp deep-seated political fusses?), the alleged spy scandal ratches up tensions between two neighbors who despite past problems have more to lose than to gain by letting the hot rhetoric overboil.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

´´Brazil is different´´

Spain´s leading daily in Madrid, El Pais, sports a thorough article on the Brazilian success story in -Brasil, el gigante despierta (´´Brazil: The Giant Awakens´´) this Sunday.

Brazil is different. "Brasil es diferente". Brazil is in ascendancy.

Oil (la gran espoleta ) ´´fuse´´ is fuelling Brazil´s rise to eminence. Brazil hosts the World Cup in 2014, the crown jewel of soccer and the national passion as well as the recently-announced summer Olympics 2016 - both in the strife-torn paradise of Rio de Janeiro.

However, it was not always so. As the article points out, a mediados de los cincuenta importaba el 95% del petróleo que consumía (in the 1950s, it imported 95% of its oil consumed) and now se puede convertir en la sexta región petrolífera del planeta, could become the world´s sixth largest oil producer, a virtual island of stability in contrast to the far-flung and fragile oil sheikdoms in the Middle East.

Indeed, state-run megacorporation Petrobras posted a $4.24 billion profit last quarter in line with market expectations.

On the flipside, 25% of Brazil´s population swelters in poverty, a high rate of violence afflicts its largest cities, and substandard infrastructure and educational systems are difficult obstacles to overcome. The large oil profits accumulated by the state are not reaching the most destitute and less fortunate.

President Lula, a fighter from his union days, can point to at least one success on the macroeconomic level during his two terms in office: Brazil, the largest economy of Latin America, was one of the first countries to emerge from the global economic crisis.

As a powerful developing country with unlimited ambition and a regional heavyweight, on the diplomatic front, Lula drew raised eyebrows by welcoming Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this Monday just two weeks after the visit by Isreaeli President Shimon Peres. Mr. Ahmadinejad will also include mutual friends Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Moraels of Bolivia, two countries at odds with Washington, on his travels to the region.

Perhaps the retiring president believes his good offices could promote peaceful dialogue with a fellow oil producing state. Next year, Brazil chooses a new president as he steps aside.

At the end of the day, despite its internal challenges, Brazil continues to acumula las mayores reservas de optimismo del planeta (accumulates the greatest reseves of optimism on the planet).

Any visitor here can certainly attest to that feeling in the air and among the people.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Headless in Berlin

Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.
Former US President John F. Kennedy in his Berlin speech, June 1963

The United States was left headless in Berlin last Monday.
US President Barak Hussein Obama did not deign to visit the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall´s fall for three main reasons. Instead, he dispatched Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, a diplomatic downgrade, to mingle with the presidents and prime ministers of US allies in Europe.

It is a despicable act and a shameful behavior by the leader of the free world and president of the very country that forced the hands of the communist dictatorships to surrender leading to fall of the Iron Curtain symbolized by the fall of the odious Berlin Wall twenty years ago. Unfortunately, it is consistent with a US president ill at ease with American success and leadership in the world and devoid of intellectul curiosity about global security.

Tone death to history, US President Barak Hussein Obama betrayed the legacy of his Democrat Party´s main icon in the latter half of the last century,  John F. Kennedy, who proudly stood at the wall and declared: ´´All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner.´´

US President Obama, who is often lauded for his soaring rhetoric, cannot ever match the substance of former President Kennedy nor his committment for freedom, sadly.

Moreover, the Democrat Party was on the wrong side of history seeking more accomodation and less confrontation with the Soviet Union after the US reversal in the Vietnam War. Perhaps President Obama did not want to bring attention to this fact.

However, the fall of the Berlin Wall is not viewed by many Americans as a partisan achievement while it is undeniable the impetus for forcing the communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe to yield to the thirst for freedom by their people was Ronald Wilson Reagan, a member of the Republican Party, the Democrat´s main political opponent. In June of 1987, former US President Ronald Reagan proclaimed at the Wall:

´´I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner (quote):"This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall, for it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.´´

Indeed, a little freedom is very dangerous for tyrannical regimes. Liberty cannot be snuffed out by concrete and steel when the will of the people is greater than its dictators.

President Obama´s absence at the anniversary last Monday is a telling indictment on his rank inability to fulfill the august duties of president and serve as the number one advocate defender of freedom, a horrifying combination. Today´s tyrannts may misread the US president´s snub and imperil global security further.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cold War Series Part IV: Lessons Learned

“We win, they lose.” - Ronald Reagan´s strategy for the Cold War

GSM concludes its four part series on the Cold War examining the lessons learned recalling the maxim studying history is to (hopefully) avoid repeating it.

First, a just cause and the will to advance it are key ingredients in a struggle. The Western powers and their allies around the world united their efforts to oppose Soviet-inspired tyranny  Every continent was affected by the East-West contest. Though progress waxed and waned, the thirst for freedom by the oppressed cowering at the boot of the dictator sustained the West´s effort to defeat Soviet communism.

Second, the spiritual aspect of the democracies, especially the appeal in East Europe by the Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, is credited with fueling the Solidarity trade union resistance in his native Poland. Moscow attempted to assassinate the Pope and never underestimated his ability to expose the hollowness of secular communism. The ´´holy alliance´´ between former US President Reagan and former Pope John Paul II proved a potent antidote to the raw atheistic offerings of Soviet communism. Faith to overcome the heavy boot of tyranny sustained many behind the Iron Curtain. In addition, the moral element embodied in Reagan´s ´´evil empire´´ comment drew the battle lines tight with the practitioners of tyranny like Solzhenitsyn´s Gulag Archipelago.

Third, military superiority spearheaded by President Reagan´s military buildup and modernization of strategic weaponry narrowed the gap with the Soviet Union. The military maliase following the Vietnam War defeat, highlighted by the ´disaster in the desert´ to rescue the Iranian-held hostates in 1980, left the United States vulnerable in the air, land, and sea. The buildup demonstrated US resolve at a critical time. The Warsaw Pact held the number superiority, but the West compensated with superior technology.

Fourth, in deed, the technological edge, particularly the mere threat of a Strategic Defense Initiative (derided by the Western press as ´´Star Wars´´) convinced the Soviets to seriously reconsider both the nature of the struggle with the West and the confident Reagan leadership in the White House. The KGB thought the tech gap with the West undermined Moscow´s ability to compete. Reagan doubled down on the costs for the Soviets to compete with the West, essentially to bankrupt Moscow.

Fifth, the ideological economical competition pitted free markets versus Marxism and capitalism won. The Soviet 5-Year plans as required by the command economy were folly. The more productive West despite intermittent cyclical market downturns proved the superior economic system to provide the most basic goods and social mobility for a better life.

Finally, the will to win and overcome cannot be underscored enough. The democracies´ will to win was flagging when former US President Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher appeared on the scene at a crucial time in world history to dispatch Soviet communism to the ash heap of history. One wins by imposing your will on the opponent. Mr. Reagan and Mrs. Thatcher imposed the West´s will on Mr. Gorbachev who only sought to reform communism instead of killing it. Laurels for Mr. Gorbachev are misguided. His card hand was not very appetizing when he appeared on the scene to preside over the dissolution of the East European dictatorships, a Soviet leader´s nightmare.

The West won and the Soviet Union lost just as Reagan quipped in our quote above. The end of the Cold War was not marked by victory parades or grand displays in contrast to the May Day celebrations in Moscow every year. Regrettably, many in the democracies are unaware of the high stakes involved in the titanic struggle with Moscow and worse, many sympathized if not openly sided with Moscow.

We live in a more dangerous multipolar world today without any longing for the managed bipolar world of the Cold War. Nuclear technology and ballistic missiles are more available around the world in the hands of tyrants. There is no Reagan or Thatcher on the scene in the democracies to confront the scourage of Islamic fascist terrorism, nuclear-tipped tyrants or other asymetrical challenges to freedom and pluralism.

Leaders in the democracies today do good to heed these lessons and apply them forthright or risk horrifying consequences.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Honduran Crisis: Recognize Michelleti Now

Honduras is no better off after constitutionally-ousted former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, cries foul over a breakdown of the accord leading to his restitution and a national unity government: ´´The accord is dead.´´ 

The accord forced upon the interim President Michelleti by the disgraced OAS calls for a vote by the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court before Zelaya supposedly returns to power. However, the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court voted him out of power, thus sparking the ´´crisis.´´ Just because one is president he or she is not above the law as Mr. Zelaya found out.

There is no evidence Mr. Zelaya has learned a lesson from his constitutional ouster. There is no contrition. Authoritarians rarely say ´´I am sorry.´´ His designs for Honduras to continue as a transhipment point for Venezuelan drug planes and to become a junior member of the Castro-Chavez Club are unaltered.

Thus, Mr. Zelaya is a threat to Honduran democracy. His street thugs agitating for his return at any costs, including attacking the attorney general investigating his alledged long list of crimes last weekend, are very similar to the same outlaws enforcing Chavezism in Venezuela.

Brazil still provides diplomatic cover for Mr. Zelaya housing him in their embassy. The United States first rushed to support him because of ´´coup´´ talk (false).

It is time for regional powers and the international community as a whole to recognize the Micheletti government in Tegucigalpa and recognize Mr. Zelaya was dutifully dismissed and let Honduras resolve its problems alone.

Freedom and democracy are in the balance.

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Cold War Series - Part III: How the Cold War Was Won

´´General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!´´
Former US President Ronald W. Reagan, June 12, 1987.

In the end, the Cold War was won by defeating the Soviet Union, a novel concept.

In arguably the West´s darkest moment, Ronald Wilson Reagan, a former actor and governor of California, and Margaret Thatcher, the daughter of a humble grocery store owner, were elected president of the United States (1980) and prime minister of the United Kingdom (1979) respectively. This dynamic duo would steer the West to victory against tyranny.

In 1980, the United States was reeling from twin humiliating reversals: the ghosts of Vietnam and the 444-day hostage drama at the hands of Islamic Republic of Iran, both inflation and unemployment were in double digits and above all US morale was flagging. The Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and the strategic balance in Europe favored Moscow with its deployment of mobile SS-20 missiles. The challenge was cast. Washington and London readily accepted.

US President Reagan defied the ruckus of KGB-funded peace movement in West Europe and deployed Pershing II and cruise missiles throughout Nato countries to counter the Soviet threat. He finally had a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, after a series of Soviet leaders died in office over what became the INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces) Treaty to scrap these missiles.

In a departure from past negotiations, Reagan negotiated from strength: the largest military buildup since Vietnam and an ace in the hole - the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) derided by the naive Western news media as ´´Star Wars´´ to discount its realistic function and purpose - creating a missile shield to protect the West from Soviet missiles. His vision then is still inspiring today.

Mr. Gorbachev knew the danger SDI posed to Moscow. The technological gap persisted throughout the Cold War after the Soviets launched Sputnik first in expanding competition into space. The introduction of anti-aircraft missiles in Afghanistan and the rugged mujahideen created the ´´Soviet Vietnam.´´ His perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (opening) policies lulled the naive Western media, but they were futile attempts to reform and save communism from the dustbin of history. His hand was forced by SDI and the iron will of mainly Reagan and Thatcher backed by credible military force to end the communist menace. Any credit to Mr. Gorbachev is in recognizing the defeat of the Soviet Union.

In the end, visionary leaders, iron nerve backed by strength, and technology gave a strong push to cause the ailing Soviet Union to fail and condemn its brand of communism to the deathbed.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cold War Series Part II: How the Cold War Was Not Won

 In our second series on the Cold War to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the odious Berlin Wall
on November 9, we examine how the West did not win the Cold War.

Our first part covered the Soviet communist ascendancy. Our final part of the series addresses lessons learned and informed perspectives about the ideological struggle between the United States and its allies against the Soviet Union and its client-states.

First, it is helpful to learn how the Cold War was not won. The ´´long telegram´´ from Moscow, written by ´´Mr. X´´ later appearing in Foreign Affairs in July 1947 (´´The Sources of Soviet Conduct´´), kicked off the intellectual debate about how to confront Soviet communism. Then US diplomat George F. Kennan in the US Embassy in Moscow argued for containment of Soviet expansionism. His identity remained secret for years, but his thoughts shaped the initial US response to the Soviet challenge. However influential and insightful, containment was a mere holding strategy - accepting Soviet communism and a losing strategy to keep it from flowing to other parts of the world.

Second, the Cold War was not won through détente - (relaxation in French) - a relaxing of tensions between the United States and Soviet Union, usually at moments of Soviet exhaustion to buy time. US-Soviet summits were mainly media events, carefully managed, and coveted by the often naive Western media who pressured the US side for concessions. The main topic was nuclear arms talks resulting in estimable treaties between the two sides. Agreements and treaties are only valuable if both sides intend to adhere to them. A piece of paper with signatures does not tame a sworn enemy.

 Containing tyranny and talking with tyrants do not solve the problem - how to protect freedom in the Hobbesian international system governed by the aggressive use of force. In part three of our series, we report how the West won the Cold War without the often-feared horrific nuclear exchange between Moscow and Washington. 

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cold War Series Part I: Soviet Communist Ascendancy

November 9, 2009, marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the odious Berlin Wall, a symbolic event for ushering in the end of the Cold War. An ´´Iron Curtain,´´ separating East and West Europe, walls, vicious guard dogs, prison camps, barbed wire, minefields, no-mans land, Checkpoint Charlie, and soldiers at the ready were implements of tyrannical regimes to enslave their people, dash their dreams, and maintain total control through the gun barrel.

The Western democracies led by the United States rejected this barbarism.

GSM in a four part series reviews the Cold War. Part I covers the ascendancy of Soviet communism. Part II shows how the Cold War was not won. Part III demonstrates how the West´s iron-willed determination forced Moscow to relent. Finally, Part IV expounds upon the lessons learned which are applicable to the current international system.

 From the ashes of World War II sprang almost immediately the Cold War, the titanic struggle between the West (NATO) and the East (Warsaw Pact). Namely, the United States and the Soviet Union managed a rivalry across the global chessboard for supremacy. Would tyranny and command economics triumph over freedom and market economics? For 46 years, the two sides competed for prestige, allies to carry forward the fight, and of course, victory.

The early contests began in the divided Germany - Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in the former Nazi capital - Berlin. The West led by US President Harry Truman defied Soviet attempts to block land routes into western Berlin (where the western Allies had divided the capital into zones) with a massive airlift transferring supplies to 2.2 million inhabitants. The Soviets did not act to stop the airlift and the crisis abated and West Berlin became an island of freedom and market economics in the heart of East Germany. West Berlin and the divided Germany would be a constant thorn in the side of the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War.

The US-Soviet rivalry stretched across the globe touching every continent. US President Truman believed China´s helped spark the Korean Conflict which was fought to a stalemate. That unsettled conflict precipitated a challenge later in Vietnam where first the French were evicted by a nationalistic communist insurgency and later the United States who left the quagmire with a shameful defeat. The dominoes fell later as predicted in Laos and Cambodia who also fell under communist tyranny. Re-education camps and ´´the killing fields´´of Cambodia proceeded to subject millions to a fate of certain death.

Indeed, the 1970s can arguably be the apogee of Soviet communism. The West was reeling. Many observers believed Moscow´s march was unstoppable and that capitalism was a spent force. At the height of the Arab-Israeli War in 1973, US President Nixon put the country on DEFCON3 (Defense Readiness Condition) to deter the Soviets from intervening.

However deadly serious, the second direct confrontation between Moscow and Washington occurred a decade earlier during the  Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 which nudged the United States and the Soviet Union closer to mutually assured destruction (MAD). The wily Castro in Havana and reckless Khrushchev in Moscow pushed the US Kennedy Administration to the brink over nuclear missiles in Cuba.

These hot points during the Cold War again redounded to a test of wills. Join us for Part II of our series where we explore how the Cold War was not won. Our final post on the series reflects more on the extraordinary time period the Cold War covered in world history and lessons applicable to global security challenges today.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Persian Peril Percolates While West Wanes

"J'espère que ces négociations vont se poursuivre, que les éléments sataniques ne pourront pas les perturber, car le régime sioniste et les puissances dominatrices sont mécontents", a déclaré le président iranien, selon Isna.

´´I hope these negotiations continue [and] that the Satanic forces will not be able to disrupt them because the Zionist regime and domineering powers are dissatisfied.´´

´´Washington is expected to continue to engage Tehran toward a deal on Iran's nuclear program, according to both government sources and American sources accompanying U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her lightning visit to Israel Saturday´´ -, 11/01/2009

´´Iran must demonstrate through concrete steps that it will live up to its responsibilities with regard to its nuclear program´ - US President Obama, 10/02/2009 after P-5+1 talks in Geneva.

The Teheran Tyrants know they have won. Iran skipped providing an answer by the October 23 deadline on the ridiculous nuclear enrichment deal. More defiance from the Teheran Tyrants and yet the Obama Administration reportedly (from Haaretz above) is still on the talk-a-thon track. Incredible!

The Western powers at this late date face two unpalatable options: 1) worthless sanctions and 2) a military campaign to cripple Teheran´s nuclear capabilities. The first option is more likely because the United States led by President Obama has no intellectual curiosity about how the world actually works and worse anyone in the his inner circle who does.

A military campaign is fraught with complexity and difficulty given the extensive layout of Iran´s nuclear facilities across the Persian state and the built-in redundancy. It would require a sustained operation to be effective. The repercussions with Russia and China have to be weighed beforehand as well.

When the Bush Administration did not follow up Iraq with confronting Iran more forcefully (as if killing US soldiers in Iraq was not an act of war), the mullahs in Teheran knew the coast was clear. An inexperienced president from a traditionally anti-war (Democrat) party was manna from heaven after the 2008 US elections.

World history is replete with examples when a determined foe is not confronted until the last hour. It is incredible to believe suddenly Iran will scrap its crown jewel overnight to please the Western powers after investing billions of oil dollars in research, materiel, nuclear scientists, and advanced ballistic missiles to deliver their lethal cargo.

Its protectors in the proxy war with the United States, Russia and China namely, provide Teheran the cover required to defy Washington. The smart bet is to believe the naive US president does not have the temerity to launch and all-out military assault given his mounting domestic worries including sinking poll ratings. Leaders buck polls and do what is required regardless, a profile in courage the current president lacks.

As neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan teeter on the brink, Iran´s defiance cannot be welcome in Washington. Thus the Persian peril percolates while the West wanes in both influence and credibility in global security affairs.