By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
If the international community continues to sit on its hands - threatening to take action - but doing nothing while it debates - it may soon be too late to do anything about Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations.
On the heels of the International Atomic Energy Agency's chief saying the IAEA was coming to the end of the road with Iran, that nation's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced they're going to build 10 more nuclear enrichment plants.
The announcement also comes just days after Tehran reneged on an agreement to send its enriched uranium abroad to ensure that it doesn't develop nuclear weapons. Iran also just launched a trial balloon suggesting that it may withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
One or two nuclear weapons plants may be something that can be contended with militarily. But 12? That's a far different proposition.
And if Iran has 12 plants - and refuses to let IAEA inspectors in - how would one determine which plant or plants to target? The nation has the right to develop nuclear energy. One wouldn't want to target a plant that's designed to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Of course, no one is talking a military option. At least not publicly. In fact, they're only barely talking the possibility of sanctions.
Let's now go back to Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election. There were those who said that President Obama was too timid in his response when Ahmadinejad was declared, on August 3, the winner. That he failed to show that the United States stood with the protesters who took to the streets - mainly peacefully - only to be met with batons, bullets and prison.
Obama supporters said then that a too strong response of condemnation would give the regime an excuse to accuse the United States of meddling. The administration wanted the demonstrations to be seen as what they were - organic - free of U.S. intervention.
But there were others who said then that the new U.S. president looked weak - and that Iran would take advantage of that perception. It could be that - based on today's announcement - Obama's critics were right.