I'm not sure whether this is as bad as it looks ... but it looks pretty bad.
The Bush administration has given up on the battle against Iran’s nuclear armament. This is the meaning of Washington’s decision to back the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA’s board vote Monday, June 13, to reappoint Mohamed ElBaradei as agency director for a fifth term.
Israel thus finds itself alone in the ring with the Iranian nuclear menace. Nothing now remains to stop Tehran attaining its goal of a nuclear bomb or bombs by the end of 2006 or early 2007 - except for the extreme eventuality of direct Israeli military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The question is what brought about this drastic reversal in Washington? And why are Bush administration officials willing now to endorse ElBaradei after reviling him for four years (not forgetting the row over Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction) as responsible more than any other international agent for letting Iran run off with a military nuclear capability?
One answer is that US president George W. Bush’s team now believes time is running out too fast for preventive action to take effect – and not only on Iran. ...
Debka's interpretation of the Baradei decision, then, is that Bush has given up on stopping the IRI's nuclear plans, and is now content to simply defer Tehran's nuclear capability until the next occupant of the Oval Office gets to deal with the issue.
That's one possibility. Another, I think is that Washington sees UN action against the IRI as irrelevant because both the UN and the IRI are themselves irrelevant. Given the situation, the Bush Administration has basically had two options: either to force the regime to get rid of its nukes, or to get rid of the regime. Statements from the President, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and other officials have suggested that this Administration was none to keen on the first plan to begin with.
Stopping the regime's nuclear program will not, for instance, do anything to curb Tehran-sponsored attacks on American troops. Nor will it help the human rights situation in Iran - in which the Administration has a self-interested stake, having publicly condemned the regime and expressed support for the Iranian people, thus putting its own credibility on the line.
In this view, the problem is not the regime's nukes but the regime itself. After all, the United States is at war with Iran (and Syria) in all but name already, in the form of the ongoing insurgency/counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq. Perhaps Bush is anticipating a new set of negotiating partners in Tehran in the near future - with the mullahs and their fascist regime gone.
I sure hope I'm right.