[Guest post by DRJ]
“Of course they didn’t prepare alternatives. How could they possibly fathom that diplomacy might fail? The core plank of “smart power,” such as it is, has always been the Obama charm offensive. Simply by being the anti-Bush and offering an open hand to Iran, he would convince Tehran to unclench its fist and open a dialogue. Bush was the problem (he always is!) and once the problem was removed, solutions would inevitably follow. So why bother developing a Plan B? The result: Iran’s now enriching uranium to 20 percent purity and rolling out advanced centrifuges, which means nuclear “breakout” capacity, i.e. the ability to build a bomb quickly even if they haven’t yet done so, won’t be long in coming.
The fact that western powers had been waltzing with Iran over its nuke program for fully seven years at that point might have given them a clue that no action would be taken, but that’s “smart power” for you.”
Allahpundit speculates about why this was leaked now and also blames Bush for (1) focusing on Iraq instead of Iran, and (2) knowing a Democratic President would fumble the ball. Sorry, but I’m not buying that. Republican Presidents have enough to worry about without being responsible for their Democratic successor’s foul-ups.
However, it is interesting to ponder why this January memo was leaked now. After reading the New York Times’ questions to President Obama in this April 5th interview, the similar questions make me think they already had Gates’ memo or knew of its contents. Whether or not this is the case, Obama’s response focused on the success of his upcoming nuclear summit as the solution to Iran’s nuclear threat:
“But our expectation is not that there’s just some vague, gauzy statement about us not wanting to see loose nuclear materials. We anticipate a communiqué that spells out very clearly, here’s how we’re going to achieve locking down all the nuclear materials over the next four years, and different countries, depending on their circumstances and vulnerabilities, taking very specific steps in order to assure that that happens.”
The summit is over and the clear communiqué didn’t materialize, so it’s not that surprising the Gates memo did.