Bloggers grow less negotiable over Iran's nuclear escalation. They also go to town on a scandal-ridden Tony Blair and on a rabbi who calls atheists "angry."
Iran to world: Drop dead (we'll help): It was a big week for Iran. The United Nations disclosed—as part of its ongoing investigation into the murder of Rafik Hariri—that the regime was cozying up to Syria in "disruptive and unhelpful" ways; Israeli intelligence claimed Tehran has purchased long-range missiles from North Korea capable of striking Europe; Ayatollah Khamenei threatened a "twofold" retaliation if Iran were attacked by the United States; and the IAEA released its official report on the country's intractability regarding its continued nuclear program. President Bush has said "diplomatic options are just beginning," but bloggers think the tread-lightly method is at a close.
Finnish and anti-Islamist KGS at Tundra Tabloids writes, "Either these words by Ahmadinejad mean absolutely nothing at all to the international community, (meaning that the IC plans to continue its meaningless dialogue until the Iranians finally achieve a nuke bomb) or the U.N. Security Council passes a resolution with very sharp teeth."
Moderate conservative Jeff at Kinshasha on the Potomac thinks the angry-letter method of diplomacy is dead, which means only one thing: "With the threat from Iran only growing—more provocative posturing from Ahmadinejad, threats by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to share nuke tech with other nations (made while Sudanese President al-Bashir was visiting ... wouldn't that be great; genocidal thugs with nukes), the delivery of BM25 missiles—it is well past the time for the US and Europe to take action. We have tried the 'soft' route of offering concessions. The Iranians are not interested."
Michael Stickings of TheModerate Voice is only slightly less pessimistic about the status quo, and alarmed by comments from Khameni that Iran will share its nuclear technology: "Bluster it may be, but it cannot be ignored. If Iran's looking to make a deal, it'll want a lot in return for abandoning its nuclear aspirations. If it's not, how are we to deal with its hidden nuclear program? And, beyond that, if this latest threat is real, how are we to deal with, say, a nuclear Sudan?"
Daniel Freedman at It Shines For All, the blog of the neocon daily the New York Sun is unimpressed by Iran's threat to injure global U.S. interests if its progress toward acquiring an atomic arsenal is challenged. He asks, "What's new?" and lists Iran's various offenses: "storming the American embassay in Iran and taking American hostages; funding Hezbollah which attacked and killed American marines in Beirut; providing refuge to Al Qaeda terrorists; funding Islamic terrorists groups across the globe; and so on."
However, Lorelei Kelly of The Huffington Post worries less about the bellicose rhetoric of the Iranian president than that of our own. Citing three bureaucratic channels through which disarmament diplomacy has historically been conducted and for which she blames Republicans for dismantling or disempowering, she notes: "The Bush Administration's ability to threaten the nuclear option with little articulate resistance is at least partly because—for decades—conservatives have marginalized or destroyed our government's ability to pursue arms control."
Read more about Iranian recalcitrance.
Tony's triptych of troubles: Home Secretary Charles Clarke released convicted criminals set for deportation; Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott romanced his secretary; and Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt got jeered by nurses for NHS budget cutbacks. The press is calling it "Black Wednesday," and altogether, it has not been a happy time in the cabinet of Prime Minister Tony Blair just a week before British local elections.
Davide Simonetti at the anti-Labor The Nether-World is having none of the PM's apologies: "[O]n Charles Clarke, the defence seems to be that now he has recognised the problem and finally admitted the full extent of the 'systemic failure', that he is the only one able to resolve the problem. Hardly a ringing endorsement for the Home Secretary."
Sussexman Sam Pritchard is terse but to the point about a wag-the-dog/shag-the-sec scenario at sam's blog: "Does anyone think John Prescott's affair was leaked to the media on purpose to hide the myriad of other messes Labour have got themselves into?"
Jonathan Calder at Liberal England is not a big fan of New Labor or Secretary Hewitt, but liberal Englishness would be nothing without taking the opposition at its highest estimation: "As a good Liberal Democrat I believe that the nurses' anger … is a sign that the National Health Service is far too centralised. But it is silly to pretend that any government is going to spend much more on health than this one has. Secondly, Hewitt was ridiculed for her statement that the NHS has just enjoyed its best year ever. Those who criticise her for saying it should say when they believe the NHS's best year was."
Read more about Blair's triangulated woes.
Harsh or Hashem?: In this Newsweek online essay, Rabbi Marc Gellman speculates that atheism might be the pathologic manifestation of some early trauma, which would account for why so many nonbelievers are "angry" people. Gellman's pulpit Freudianism might as well come labeled "self-fulfilling prophecy" given the tough crowd greeting him in cyberspace.
"His essay is not a serious consideration of the subject," says Tim Cavanaugh at Hit and Run, the free marketeer domain of Reason magazine, "but if Rabbi Gellman really wants to strike at the root of atheist rage, he should reconsider that horrendous bowtie. That thing's a red flag to a bull!"