Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Scraps of paper

Reuters item posted early Tuesday:

"Iran defied the United Nations on Tuesday by announcing it would go on converting a large amount of raw uranium to prepare it for enrichment, a process that can be used to develop atomic bombs. ...

"Iran had promised France, Britain and Germany last October it would freeze all activities related to uranium enrichment. But it angered the EU's 'big three' by announcing earlier this year that the production of feed material for centrifuges would not be included in the freeze."

The same people who tend to dismiss serious and often unreconcilable disputes as mere failures of communication are also prone to placing inordinate, even desperate, faith in scraps of paper as an alternative to more substantive action.

Iran will explicitly agree not to produce nuclear weapons--and it has done so repeatedly--but it will produce them nonetheless unless and until the US and Israel step in, violently.

A lesson of history: steel trumps ink.