President Bush gave a speech this morning to the general assembly of the United Nations. Moments afterward, former Bush speechwriter David Frum said the speech represented “the collapse of the President’s Iran policy.” “When Iran does succeed in going nuclear, this speech will seen as a turning point,” he said.
Frum noted that Bush has “subcontracted the job of negotiating with the Iranians” to the Europeans, and lamented that Bush’s speech said “nothing about the huge next item on the UN agenda, which is whether or not we will enforce the IAEA rulings on Iran.” Watch it:
“Almost from the beginning of Bush’s presidency,” two groups within the administration — realists seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and ideologues more interested in regime change — have been “waging an intense struggle over Iran, while the U.S. government went month after month without an official policy.” The dearth of policy details in Bush’s speech today suggests that problem hasn’t changed.
Meanwhile, Iran is not sitting idly by.
FRUM: This speech represents the collapse of the President’s Iran policy, and I think it will be seen — when Iran does succeed in going nuclear, this speech will be seen as a turning point in which the United States made the decision — the decision has been made — they formally announced to the world that it wasn’t going to do anything much to stop it. I think in conjunction with President Chirac’s remarks this morning, where he opposed any kind of sanction — and that’s important because Chirac is not just the leader of France. France is one of the three European countries — France, Germany and Britian — that the United States had subcontracted the job of negotiating with the Iranians. The Iranians have lied to the group, stiffed it, and up until now the French have been the most robust, the strongest, of the European 3. The French are saying, “no consequences,” and President Bush today said, “OK.” And he went to the UN and he had these words of respect for the Iranian people, but nothing about the huge next item on the UN agenda, which is whether or not we will enforce the IAEA rulings on Iran that say they are cheating, they are lying, they are making their way toward a nuclear weapon. We at the IAEA are bunkrupt. It must go to the Security Council. Obviously, it is not going to the Security Council. And I think we are heading toward a nuclear Iran.