Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Chairman Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, Founder
High Frontier . . Building Truly Effective Defenses . . . Reagan’s Vision Lives!
E-Mail Message 141120
“Déjà Vu All Over Again!“
By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
November 20, 2014
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” New York Yankee Yogi Berra supposedly explained after watching Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris repeatedly hit back-to-back home runs. The run-up to the November 24th due date for agreement with Iran to curtail its nuclear programs seems likely to fit Yogi’s metaphor for more U.S. foolishness. This perhaps the most dangerous of the Obama administration’s follies will be masked by greater attention given to the President’s Amnesty executive decision, the run-up to a possible December 12th Government shutdown, the “Gruber effect” and other foreign policy debacles.
On November 9th, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued nine questions and answers pertinent to understanding his strategy for the “elimination of Israel”—as reported by the November 14th issue of Haaretz, a leading English-language Website for real-time news and analysis of Israel and the Middle East. They understate the Ayatollah’s worst case threat—the existential threat to Israel (the “Little Satan”) posed by a nuclear armed Iran. Notably, he was silent on his plans for the “Great Satan” America.
Context for Khamenei’s Nine Points.
This “soft pedaling” social media announcement (via a “tweet” yet) comes essentially on the eve of the November 24th deadline for an agreement between the P5 + 1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China—plus Germany) and Iran that is advertised to block Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It is hard to miss the fact that the Ayatollah is thumbing his nose at those concerned about that outcome by reinforcing Iranian regime’s well-known objective of the “elimination” of Israel.
Separately reported by Hareetz is that a secret letter from President Barack Obama to Ayatollah Khamenei suggested cooperation against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), on condition that the Iran reach a nuclear agreement with the Western powers by November 24. Other concessions probably include relieving the existing sanctions that the Western powers have levied on Iran.
Without elaborating these points—see the two above linked Hareetz articles and a recent Frontpage perspective of the Obama initiatives with Iran since 2009, one does wonder a bit about the Ayatollah’s strategy for the “elimination” America.
Given the U.S. leading role in the P5 + 1 talks, it also illustrates considerable disdain for Secretary of State John Kerry, not to mention President Barak Obama, both of whom seem determined to get a deal at whatever cost. Reminds me of that adage, “If you want it bad, you’ll get it … bad.”
We’ve Seen this Act Before . . .
This U.S. panting after an agreement is not new—and Iran has a track record for taking advantage of that repeated “triumph of hope over experience,” as I warned shortly after Khamenei selected Hassan Rouhani to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s President. That change was in atmospherics without likely substantive redirection from the Ayatollah. See the High Frontier emails of June 18, 2013 and June 25, 2013.
Ahmadinejad had openly and with some regularity declared his objective. For example, at the United Nations on September 24, 2012, he asserted that Israel would be “eliminated”—notably, the same term used by Ayatollah Khamenei last week. In a 2006 more bombastic moment, he had called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” What goes around, comes around.
Rouhani was alleged to be a moderate, signaling a change in Iran’s approach. However, he previously had illustrated that his “moderate” atmospherics only disguised his actual purpose of instituting Iran’s early programs for processing uranium. As discussed a year ago and summarized below, he openly bragged about his success in shepherding Iran’s major 2003-2005 expansion of its uranium enrichment programs, when he led the Iranian side of negotiations in which the West was seeking to limit those programs.
So, Iran had 3000 centrifuges in 2005—and according to recent press accounts, Iran now has over 10,000 and the negotiations alleged to be reaching agreement by next Monday are reported to be headed toward an agreement that would permit Iran to retain and keep spinning something like half that number. As discussed in my September 24, 2013 email report, that will permit Iran to retain a “breakout capability” to produce within a few months enough processed uranium for several nuclear weapons. And this does not account for the possibility that Iran is also seeking a plutonium-based nuclear weapon.
If such an agreement is reached, Rouhani will have again succeeded in stalling via negotiations to reach the Grand Ayatollah’s objectives and policies, ultimately intended to “eliminate” the “little Satan” Israel and the “great Satan” America on the way to a global Shiite-based caliphate. Rouhani’s approach, which many continue to describe as “moderate,” actually has been more of the same under Khamenei. U.S. and other Western Diplomats again appear to have been taken in by Rouhani’s softer diplomatic approach, while they were inclined to reject Ahmadinejad’s bombastic pronouncements that actually reflected Ayatollah Khamenei’s interests, as made clear by his “tweet” last week.
If there is a deal next week, let’s see how many centrifuges the West accepts at what price (and also what is agreed about Iran’s future Plutonium processing)—and consider how Rouhani’s future statements about this round are likely to compare with his previous successful (from his perspective) outcome. And what will we have paid for that agreement.
Reminds me of that saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” How many times will it take for this administration to learn?
Expect Administration and Media Distractions!
The recent revelations about how the Obama administration has dealt with other important issues offer little hope for an outcome on November 24th that is in our or Israel’s national security interest—though whatever it is no doubt will be loudly touted by the administration and cheered by the elite mainstream media. This dynamic could include packaging in the most optimistic terms simply kicking the can down the road, while Iran locks in whatever U.S. concessions have already been made or additional ones they can achieve—the best of outcomes from Iran’s perspective, considered by some as the most likely outcome.
We should expect a pattern like how multiple videos irrefutably revealed that MIT economist and alleged health care expert Jonathan Gruber, the administration, congressional leaders and the mainstream media deliberately deceived the American public about the substance and costs of Obamacare. Expect little or no transparency, with the expectations that the “stupid public” won’t notice as their national security is also being frittered away.
Other examples of our depleting statue at home and abroad are found in a bewildering flurry of discordant yet threatening events. Just consider a few:
- Recent reports of “systemic problems across the nuclear enterprise” echoing a congressionally mandated panel to examine our nuclear arsenal. Even Pravda has noticed that Russia has bested the U.S. in the wake of the Obama administration’s New START Treaty that required the U.S. to cut its atrophying nuclear capabilities while Russia expands and modernizes it strategic forces. The current situation is exacerbated by the fact that the Obama administration reneged on its commitment to several ill-advised Republican Senators who went along with ratifying New START. We’ll see if Defense Secretary Hagel’s announced plan to rectify this situation fares any better.
- Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is increasingly open in his obvious disdain for President Obama and his policies and is ordering very unsettlingly activities—from further intrusion on Ukraine; to providing nuclear reactors to its ally Iran; to moderating between its allies and our foes in Syria; to a 30-year natural gas deal to increase Russian exports of natural gas to China by 30 billion cubic meters a year starting in 2020; to ordering Russian aircraft to approach our coasts, including the Gulf of Mexico; etc. Explicit boasts about a Russian threat from the Gulf of Mexico are particularly troublesome, given our vulnerability to threats from the south.
- Meanwhile on President Obama’s recent trip to China, he and President Xi Jinping pledged “to reducing U.S. carbon emissions 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%.” In turn, “China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030.” Whatever you may think of climate change/global warming, this sounds like the New START recipe of “We reduce, they build.” President Obama considers climate change to be “an urgent and growing threat.” Whatever . . . China, now the world’s 2nd largest economic power (several times that of Russia) holding over a trillion dollars of our debt, is building modern weaponry at a much faster pace than we are—and elbowing its way into global politics. The Chinese follow Sun Tsu and take the long view, while we fritter away our previous advantages in our so far vacuous “pivot to Asia.”
- And of course there will be much debate and reporting about however the President’s directive on Amnesty for Illegal emigrants turns out, not to mention the debate associated with the run-up to when the government runs out of appropriated funds on December 11th.
Déjà Vu All Over Again:
The bottom line truth is that we are headed toward some difficult times with Iran—not to mention the above and other serious matters. If you haven’t already, I urge you to reread my September 24, 2013 message, which among other things reported the following: Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov argued in “Iran’s Plan B for the Bomb” that “it would be dangerous to think that Iran’s proposal for negotiations alone would pave the way for a deal”—and that any effective negotiation must deal with three dimensions:
- Uranium enrichment from a low level (3.5 percent to 19.75 percent) to weapons-grade level (90 percent);
- Iran’s progress toward a quick “breakout capability” through the stockpiling of large quantities of low-enriched uranium that could be further enriched rapidly to provide weapons-grade fuel; and
- Iran’s parallel track to a nuclear capability through the production of plutonium.
Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence and then director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (where Golov is a researcher) acknowledged that thousands of centrifuges and enough low-enriched uranium permits Iran to produce several nuclear bombs if it chooses to further enrich the fuel. At the same time they might not cross what is perceived as Israel’s red line: 240 kilograms (about 530 pounds) of uranium enriched to a level of 19.75 percent. And they quoted Western experts Graham T. Allison Jr. (Director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and a Former Assistant Secretary of Defense), Olli Heinonen (Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center and a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency) and an Institute for Science and International Security report to note that:
If Iran decided to develop a bomb today, it could do so within three to five months—and at the current pace of installation, Iran could reduce its breakout time to just one month by the end of this year, and by mid-2014 to less than two weeks.
Yadlin and Golov also emphasized the near-term possibility of an Iranian plutonium bomb—via a heavy-water reactor in Arak that could become operational in time to produce weapons-grade plutonium this year. Note: Of the three countries that have publicly crossed the nuclear threshold since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970, two — India and North Korea — did so via the plutonium track.
No wonder Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so concerned. I wonder where his “red line” now stands. Suggest you reread my May 21, 2013 discussion on how the “red line” on Iran fits in with other threats to the United States that have only grown since then.
Without discussion in this message, it should be clear that, when coupled with their already existing ballistic missile and satellite launch capability, the advent of a nuclear capable Iran enables them with an existential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat that could return the United States to an 18th century existence—without the amenities of that agrarian society. Standby for the results of an anticipated satellite launch by Iran’s ally, North Korea.
Time may be running out for effective U.S. action. Lots for the new Congress to consider.
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
We will continue to emphasize our efforts to inform the state and local authorities—and publics—about the existential EMP threat and what we can do to counter it.
We will continue expanding our work with the National Guard to help them gain knowledge and workable plans to help harden the electric power grid and counter the EMP threat. This work will go hand in hand with efforts of State legislators who are seeking to expand on the excellent work of those in Maine and Virginia, who have passed legislation requiring serious studies of the EMP threat and the needed countermeasures to protect the electric power grid.
We are working with South Carolina National Guard to plan tabletop exercises to help them understand how best to engage constructively with private citizens and their local and state representatives and other authorities to understand and respond to this serious threat. We also are supporting related activities in neighboring and other states.
We are informing SC state legislators and senators about the threat and what can be done to deal with it—and expect the coming legislative session to take up proposed legislation modelled after that passed without a negative vote in Virginia. (Click here.)
We also expect to work with Cong. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) whose district includes my SC farm—and other members of the Congressional EMP Caucus to again seek passage of the Shield Act and the Infrastructure Protection Act.
We will be working with members of the EMP Coalition and others who are seeking to take our message across the country—especially with Bob Newman, a former Adjutant General of Virginia, to help us link our SC plans more broadly and especially into Virginia and the National Capital region.
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
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