“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chirac Declares Hand. Iran Doubles.

Maybe, just maybe, there is some movement to deal with Iran. Now it is not realistic to expect too much at one time. There will be no dramatic moves but there does seem to be a more subtle strategy developing with Iran. It is probably a version of the same that was applied to North Korea.

Chirac is thinking about another run as President. There is new turmoil, or more correctly a continued turmoil with French Yutes. Chirac also knows that depending on the outcome of the US election, Bush may find himself constrained by a Democrat controlled Congress. It is in Chirac's interest to show the initiative with Iran with very little cost to France.

The Chinese seem to have convinced North Korea to quiet down and Chirac just inked a huge Airbus deal in China. He is busy making other trade deals with the Chinese that will all play well for him in the next French election. Any costs to France of a mild slap at Iran through sanctions will be more than offset by the Chinese deals. Chirac will look good in leading the way to Iranian sanctions and that may neutralize criticism over the lack of progress in the Yute salute to French authorities.

Chirac for sanctions if talks collapse: Iran steps up enrichment

WUHAN (China), Oct 27:

French President Jacques Chirac said on Friday that if a stalemate developed in the dialogue with Iran over its nuclear programme then sanctions should be imposed.

“I hope that we can find a solution through dialogue,” Chirac said here.

“If it goes on and appears that the dialogue will not end, then it is probably necessary to find calibrated, adaptable, temporary and reversible sanctions that will be imposed to show Iran that the entire international community does not understand their position and is hostile to it.”

President Chirac’s statements followed reports from Iran that scientists had begun feeding gas into a second cascade of centrifuges to enrich uranium, defying UN threats of sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“The second cascade was set up two weeks ago and this week gas was injected into them,” an official told the ISNA news agency in Tehran. “We have the product of the second cascade.”

Iran on Wednesday confirmed it had installed new equipment to step up uranium enrichment and said it would imminently start pumping gas into the equipment.

President Chirac said he had “never been a great believer in sanctions” and that he “has never been convinced of their effectiveness”.

But “in this particular case, it is obvious and the entire international community recognises this, notably China, but also Russia, the Europeans and the United States that the ambitions clearly signalled by Iran are not compatible with the idea we are making concerning non-proliferation.”

A top Iranian cleric in Tehran’s Friday sermon defied the UN over probable sanctions, calling again for a return to negotiations.

“If you want to go ahead with the sanctions, go ahead,” said Ahmad Khatami.

“You have imposed sanctions on us for the past 27 years. What did you gain? It was with these sanctions that Iranian youth reached nuclear energy and self-sufficiency.”

On Thursday in Beijing, a joint communique released by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Mr Chirac called on Iran to heed UN mandates over its nuclear programme and abide by an earlier Security Council resolution to abandon its uranium enrichment programme or face sanctions.

“The two sides call for respect of Security Council resolution 1696 and agree to pursue their joint efforts for a resolution of the nuclear issue to maintain a close permanent contact on this matter,” the statement said.—AFP

Masood Haider adds from United Nations: The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on Friday remained at odds over a new draft resolution to impose sanctions on Iran.

The three European nations which had drafted the resolution — Britain, France and Germany — met for the first time on Thursday with the United States, Russia and China to discuss the sanctions.


  1. Yep, no doubt about it, Sanctions will provide Peace in Our Time.

    With the NorKs, Abracadabra, the Sudan and Somolia. Another peice of paper, that'll show 'em some resolve.

    If that NorK frieghter's been making 9 knots, should be about to the Straits of Malacca. Ain't been boarded, yet. The price may just be to high, for the SouKs to pay, for US insecurity and fear.

    The Israel report tons of weapons have been smuggled into Gaza, from Eygpt. A Davey Crockett W-54 warhead weighed in at just 51lbs and produced a ten to twenty ton nuclear blast, just like the NorK test, and the Pakistani test before it.

    Underestimating the Enemy, a fools gambit.

  2. From the JPost
    Teheran delightedly announced the establishment of a second network of uranium-enrichment centrifuges, days after Ahmadinejad had hailed the tenfold expansion of his nuclear program over the past year, shrugged off the UN Security Council as "illegitimate," and asserted that Israel had "lost the reason for its existence" and would "disappear."

    If the Bush administration is unwilling or incapable of acting to stop him, then the choice will rest with Israel - by no means the only goal of Ahmadinejad's ambitions, but certainly his initial potential target.

    Incidentally, as James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA, pointed out to me last week, there is nothing to stop a nuclear North Korea simply flying in a bomb at Teheran's behest. The necessary materiel is neither bulky nor especially difficult to transport, he noted, and there's nobody checking the cargoes flying back and forth between the two countries.

  3. Catherine, Obviously you are correct, If North Korea has nuclear weapons for sale they will be delivered. The objective with China is pragmatic in that any blow back from N. Korea affects them. The US finds itself in a position where this is about as good as it can get for where we are now. Not happy, but better than nothing and the appearance that there is nothing more we can do.