Yesterday we wrote the European public, as surveyed by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, believes that nuclear-armed mullahs in Iran would pose a significant danger. More than 70% of respondents say Iranian nukes would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and allow terrorists to get their hands on the bomb.
However, German officials stunned diplomats from the United States when they notified its allies last week that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to support the imposition of any further sanctions against Iran that could be imposed by the U.N. Security Council, which left most Bush administration principals concluding that sanctions are dead.
The Germans voiced concern about the damaging effects any further sanctions on Iran would have on the German economy — and also, according to diplomats from other countries, gave the distinct impression that they would privately welcome, while publicly protesting, an American bombing campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
This thinking sounds quite like the French, we’ll support, publicly complain, we won’t participate, we’ll save ourselves with your military help, and we’ll find a way to take credit. In the end, this solution makes the German’s look weak, cowardly and deeply pathetic.
Political and military officers, as well as weapons of mass destruction specialists at the State Department, are now advising Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice that the diplomatic approach favored by Burns has failed and the administration must actively prepare for military intervention of some kind.
Vice President Cheney and his aides are said to be enjoying a bit of “schadenfreude” at the expense of Burns. A source described Cheney’s office as effectively gloating to Burns and Rice:
“We told you so. (The Iranians) are not containable diplomatically.”