The Impact of a Weak President: The Persian Mullah’s Thrust Forward

On the ground at least, the Americans look extremely weak.

Last week, Tehran announced it installed 3,000 highly advanced generation centrifuges known as IR-2m, this was done at Natanz, its principal uranium enrichment site.  They are smaller, faster and more reliable: as much as 500% more productive.  This technology means that Tehran will immediately begin moving forward to a faster breakout time, procuring and delivering a nuclear weapon before the west can respond.

Parchin has been on lockdown for years, this is Tehran’s super secret nuclear weapons experiment laboratory.  It too is moving forward!  As of this writing, the Mullah’s have 167 kilos of uranium at 20% capacity.  Just shy of a weapon.  And what is the great Satan doing?  We’re talking in Almaty, a Kazakh city where the U.S. and Tehran have decided to meet.

The Mullah’s have read the public moment right.  They’re buying time and moving patiently.

Let’s outline the moves.

What are the Iranian objectives in Almaty?

1.  The Mullah’s want to broaden its domestic nuclear industrial base.

2.  Win a reprieve from American lead western sanctions.

3.  Further diminish the possibility of a U.S. or Israeli strike and . . .

4.  Continue its covert nuclear development program.

It’s achieving all these.

Tehran is interested in a wide breakout.  That is a very gradual developing of indigenous nuclear infrastructure needed to manufacture and field a large number of nuclear weapons in short order.  Rather than racing towards a single bomb with a fast public breakout period.

The slower the breakout development period, the less likely the west or Israel will find the political will for pre-emption.

What do the Mullah’s see?  They see a diminished U.S. presence throughout the Persian Gulf.  Retreat in Afghanistan, ditto for Iraq.

What should the White House be thinking?

It should understand that if sanctions were working, then the Mullah’s would be more amenable to a deal.  They’re not!

If we were serious, we’d be threatening them.  We’re not!

How else to say it, our enemies don’t fear us.

The only good news is this:  both Sun Tzu and Machiavelli taught one dictum that the west is by default following; “make your enemies think you’re weak.”

It’s working.

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About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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