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Does anyone really believe that the current Iranian regime will stop short of developing a nuclear weapon? 

Does anyone really believe that President Barack Obama would use military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon? 

Does anyone really believe that Israel will not use military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?

The answer to each of these questions is, or certainly should be, "no."  So the theatrics we are witnessing now from Iran, Obama, and Israel are merely previews for the main feature, which is war.

Economic sanctions are hurting Iran.  That and that alone is behind the current Iranian charm offensive.

New president Hassan Rouhani is the Iranian regime's smiling face.  Supreme leader Ali Khamenei remains the evil puppet master.

The U. S. rightly considers Iran a state sponsor of terrorism.  The State Department said last year that Iran has "increased its terrorist-related activity," "was implicated in planned attacks in India, Thailand, Georgia, and Kenya," and plotted "to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States."

As for Iran's nuclear program, the official American position is that, "Iran continues to violate its international obligations regarding its nuclear program."  The International Atomic Energy Agency has not been allowed to fully inspect some Iranian facilities and says Iran has not been forthcoming on issues "related to possible military dimensions" of its nuclear program.

Former U. S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who is as clear-eyed about Iran as Obama is naïve, says, "Rouhani's strategy is clear:  Lower the rhetorical temperature about the nuclear issue; make temporary, cosmetic concessions, such as allowing inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency at already-declared nuclear sites; and gain Western acceptance of its ‘reactor-grade' uranium enrichment." 

Then, argues Bolton, "Iran's path to nuclear weapons will be unobstructed and within Tehran's discretion."  Rouhani successfully pursued a similar strategy as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator from 2003-2005.

As if the past decades of Iranian lies and deception never happened, Obama recently declared, "We have to test diplomacy."  Ignoring conclusive evidence to the negative, the President credulously stated, "We have to see if in fact they are serious about their willingness to abide by international norms and international law and international requirements and resolutions."   

Obama's fumbling foreign policy weakness was on full display after Syria used chemical weapons in blatant violation of his imaginary "red line."  He vowed, but did not conduct, a military response. 

In a gambit worthy of his country's chess masters, Russia's Putin proposed a sham solution.  Obama leaped at it to save some face. 

Syria will supposedly abandon all its chemical weapons under United Nations auspices.  But the bloodthirsty butcher Assad remains in power and unpunished, his weapons of mass destruction are forgotten in the never-never land of international bureaucratic hide and seek, and Obama's threats are now known to be hollow. 

The world was watching.   Why would either the wily Iranians or the besieged Israelis believe Obama when he says he "won't take any options off the table, including military action" to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees both Iran and Obama for what they really are.  At the United Nations he detailed Iran's serial crimes and terrorist acts Iran committed with Rouhani's complicity. 

Netanyahu explained the dangers of letting Iran's "fanatic regime" get nuclear weapons.  He said any diplomatic solution must verifiably stop all Iran's uranium enrichment, remove all its stockpiles of enriched uranium, dismantle its infrastructure for a nuclear breakout, and end all plutonium production.

Recognizing that Iran will never agree to that, and that Obama will never attack, Netanyahu plainly stated, "Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons" and "will stand alone" if forced to.

Columnist Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal calls Netanyahu's repeated warnings that Israel may act on its own "increasingly noncredible."  Bolton says, "Israel should have attacked Iran yesterday.  Every day that goes by puts Israel in greater danger.  Every day Iran makes more progress." 

There is one possible way to avoid a conflict that is otherwise imminent:  regime change in Iran, the U.S., or both.  The former is unlikely, especially after the Obama administration failed to back Iran's Green Revolution after the disputed 2009 elections.   

A strong, credible U.S. president might change the behavior of Iran's ruling radical mullahs.  Ayatollah Khomeini released long-held American hostages on Ronald Reagan's inauguration day in 1981.  But there will be no such president until 2017 at the earliest, and that is likely too late.

John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and political commentator for WDRB.com.  His e-mail is jddyche@yahoo.com.


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