Security Council meeting

I’m afraid a bland exhibition of good intentions was the official outcome of the special meeting of the UN Security Council, chaired by President Obama.

Green Utopia

Green Utopia

The five permanent members, plus Germany, had to propose a way of dealing with a defiant Iran, whose nuclear weapons development is sticking like a fishbone in the throat of the democratic world community. Nothing much was said, however, and no-one was mentioned by name.

At least one leader spoke more plainly:

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, came close to mocking his American counterpart for the good intentions, which Mr Obama had heralded as an “historic” step towards nuclear abolition, even though it set no specific targets or fresh mandates.

“We live in a real world not a virtual world,” the Frenchman told the 15-member council. “And the real world expects us to take decisions. “President Obama dreams of a world without weapons … but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite. Iran since 2005 has flouted five security council resolutions. North Korea has been defying council resolutions since 1993. I support the extended hand of the Americans, but what good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map,” he continued, referring to Israel.

Even Gordon Brown

said it was time to “draw a line in the sand” with Tehran, intensifying the pressure on Iran’s leaders to make concessions at a key meeting with major powers next week. “Iran must not allow its actions to prevent the international community from moving forward to a more peaceful era,” he said. “And as evidence of its breach of international agreements grows, we must now consider far tougher sanctions together.”

The nuclear dance

Silence is green

Silence is green

But simultaneously, it emerged that Iran is building a second uranium enrichment plant, somewhere near Qom. This has caused a major ruckus. Obama and his S5+1 (or E3 + 3 … the algebra varies) friends stood on the steps of the Pittsburgh summit and demanded instant access for inspectors.

Western officials are in little doubt that the underground site’s primary purpose is to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs. It is only capable of manufacturing 3,000 centrifuges a year, enough for one bomb, whereas a nuclear energy facility requires at least 50,000 centrifuges. Mr Obama said the “size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful programme”.

Obama managed to get in a reference to the population: ‘The Iranian people deserve better’ (than isolation and sanctions).

The Guardian gives more detail:

The Qom uranium enrichment plant first appeared in 2006 … North-east of the domed mosques of Qom, the theological heart of Iran, the revolutionary guard had established an anti-aircraft missile battery at the base of the mountain, western officials said. This alone drew attention, as intelligence analysts tried to discover what the missiles were there to protect; satellite imagery began to reveal intensive activity at the side of the mountain. “There was extensive excavation and construction work underway,” a western official said […] .

Green finger-heart

Green finger-heart

French, British and US intelligence agencies uncovered the uranium enrichment nature of the site, of a size that makes a military purpose unambiguous, during the summer. After the Iranians agreed to a ‘wide-ranging’ meeting in Geneva, further action was stalled in order not to seem to scupper this meeting. But the Iranians became aware that they had been outed and pre-emptively wrote a letter to Mohammed El-Baradei and the IAEA confessing to the second enrichment plant on Monday 21st September. The Russians and Chinese were not told until Thursday ─ after Medvedev has signalled a change of intent regarding sanctions. At his press conference with Time the Rat’s body language says it all: a cunning, shame-faced rodent who has been well and truly caught out. His foreign policy is, though shaken, to keep on grinning.

So what is the next move in our attempt to address what Con Coughlin calls “the world’s most explosive issue.”

Hidden Russian hand?

Con Coughlin in the Telegraph observes that

While Mr Medvedev gives a good impression of being in charge of his own country … it was Mr Putin who dispatched planeloads of security experts to Tehran this summer to help Mr Ahmadinejad suppress the post-election anti-government demonstrations.

This is a deeply disquieting revelation. Does anybody know anything further about this?

Star of the small screen

Ratty gives interviews and press conferences, tight-lipped and grinning, but sweating no doubt. Unfortunately the CBS interviewer is not sufficiently well-informed, for instance about the random criminal attack on an Egyptian woman in a German courtroom which the Rat always brings out, to engage with him in any sort of argument. Wisely, also, no doubt, as his cognitive system is fantastically tangled as it is. More people are killed by US police each day than in the entire period since the Iranian election. Angering slightly, Katie Couric attempts to confront him with photos of corpses from the holocaust, but as any psychiatrist knows, one does not challenge a delusional system directly. As with his Boss, the Supreme Leader or rahbar, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rumoured to be the driving force behind Iran’s bid to acquire nuclear weapons, the signs of rambling are strongly suggestive of a poverty of intellect that might make any rational engagement fruitless in any case.

Netanyahu holds up minutes of secret Nazi Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942 to plan extermination of the Jews

Netanyahu holds up minutes of secret Nazi Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942 to plan extermination of the Jews

Netanyahu has responded with dignity to the holocaust claims, or anti-claims, here and here, also at the United Nations. The video of this is obtainable with difficulty (search for ‘Have you no shame?’ and put up with the advertisements) at Fox News or, more easily, embedded in Google news aggregates (search for ‘Netanyahu holocaust’).

The origins of violence

What is so characteristic of this regime – in everything it does – is the extortion of evidence to support a particular view of reality. The psychology of this is properly attributable to George Kelly, as summarised here:

You can try to make reality match up with your constructs. [George] Kelly[1] calls this aggression. It includes aggression proper: If someone insults my tie, I can punch his lights out, in which case I can wear my tie in peace. … Again, when our core constructs are on the line, aggression may become hostility. Hostility is a matter of insisting that your constructs are valid, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The villa at 56-58 Am Grossen Wannsee, where the Wannsee Conference was held. Today it is a memorial and museum.

The villa at 56-58 Am Grossen Wannsee, where the Wannsee Conference was held. Today it is a memorial and museum.

Examples might include an elderly boxer still claiming to be “the greatest,” a nerd who truly believes he’s a Don Juan, or a person in therapy who desperately resists acknowledging that there even is a problem.

This extortion of evidence and an almost pathological antipathy to a supple, inclusive view of the world exactly describes the Iranian government’s definition of Islam. And this regardless of the derisive, sophisticated, twenty-first century outlook of most of the Iranian population. Benjamin Netanyahu is right to decry this “ninth century primitivism” (wrongly subtitled by Fox News as “19th century”), and to identify the struggle as one between civilisation and barbarism.

[1] Author of The Psychology of Personal Constructs (1955).