Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has fallen for Iran's line that it is not developing nuclear weapons, but only wants the ability to develop one to achieve its place in the sun among the great nations of the earth.
In an interview on a Sunday show and in a leak in The New York Times that seems to have come from her (since it uses the same language), she notes that "there's a small space for doubt (about Iran's intention to build a bomb) because there are some contrary indicators. There is no doubt in my mind that they want nuclear energy and nuclear power, which they are entitled to, to be able to use it for peaceful purposes. The real problem is once you do that and you get what's called a breakout capacity, it's not long before you could do the other (build a bomb). So that's why this is so important to address now."
Pressed to comment on a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it was clear that Iran was headed toward building a bomb, Hillary demurred.
"Well, they ... we ... we are doing this (pushing for sanctions) because we think they're heading there. But whether they want to get what's called the breakout capacity and stop, knowing that they could then move forward, that's where the question comes."
Wow. The same theme -- that Iran just wants to be able to make a bomb, not to actually make one -- was annunciated in a New York Times story that likely had its origins in Hillary's newfound doubts.
Why would Iran want to develop highly enriched uranium if not to make a bomb? And why would it enrich uranium in the first place if it did not want to enrich it enough to build a weapon? Why would it spend billions and incur all manner of international obloquy and sanctions just to get bragging rights and be able to say that it could build a bomb?
Does the nation with the world's second-largest reserves of oil really need nuclear power to turn on its lights? Or is Iran so green that it can't stand to contribute to global climate change?
That our secretary of state is naive and inexperienced enough to fall for this line is incredible. That she might have been president is worse. And that the real president may be falling for it, too, is beyond worse.
Ever since the Cold War started, it has been an article of faith that, in assessing enemy power, we measure his capacity and not his intentions. Intentions can change in the blink of an eye. Capacity endures forever.