Herman Cain: We should stop Iran’s nuke program by pursuing energy independence

posted at 8:05 pm on June 10, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via Christian Heinze of GOP12, this would have been a fine idea 25 years ago but we’re way, way too close to Iran’s moment of truth for any “energy independence” project to make a decisive difference now. The Journal surveys the scene:

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency “de-restricted” its most recent report on Iran’s nuclear progress. Despite hopes that the 2009 Stuxnet computer virus had slowed or even crippled Tehran’s efforts, the IAEA reports that in the last six months Tehran had enriched some 970 kilos of uranium to reactor-grade levels, or LEU, bringing its total stockpile of LEU to 4,105 kilos.

Iran has also enriched 56.7 kilos of uranium to a 20% level, ostensibly to produce medical isotopes but bringing it measurably closer to the 90% level needed for a bomb. Iran also announced this week that it will begin installing a more efficient type of centrifuge to enrich uranium at its once-secret facility near the city of Qom…

The day of that test may not be far off. In an analysis this month for the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, Rand scholar Gregory S. Jones writes that even in the absence of a clandestine nuclear program, “Iran can now produce a weapon’s worth (20 kilograms) of HEU [weapons-grade uranium] any time it wishes. With Iran’s current number of operating centrifuges, the batch recycling process would take about two months.”

According to this analysis, they’ve basically already reached breakout capacity. According to Israeli analysts, they’re still a few years away, but it’ll take more than a few years to reach a global state of energy independence sufficient to bankrupt oil giants like Iran. (North Korea, a much poorer country, has survived grinding poverty and economic sanctions to become nuclear-capable.) I don’t want to beat up on Cain over this too much since it is, after all, an intractable problem that’s bedeviled not just Obama but Bush; the options are either to grovel in the name of making a deal or to launch an almost certainly futile bombing campaign of their nuke infrastructure. Not an appetizing menu for a presidential candidate to choose from. But this is, in fact, his third noticeable gaffe on foreign policy: The first was his unique refusal to opine about Afghanistan because he lacks inside information and the second was his already infamous blanking about the Palestinian right of return. Now this, which has Jonathan Tobin at Commentary writing him off as a fundamentally unserious candidate. I think he could be serious, and a real threat in Iowa and in the south, if he was more polished on foreign policy, but how many fumbles should base voters endure before deciding it’s too much of a risk?

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WTG Herman. Maybe we should get cracking on tearing down of that wall separating East Germany from the West too.


MJBrutus on June 11, 2011 at 7:49 AM

The first was his unique refusal to opine about Afghanistan because he lacks inside information and the second was his already infamous blanking about the Palestinian right of return. Now this, which has Jonathan Tobin at Commentary writing him off as a fundamentally unserious candidate.

I disagree that his first gaffe was his unique refusal to opine about Afghanistan. It makes perfect sense since “opining” to the media (including bloggers) leaves one open for far more criticism. Who in their right mind would pontificate on a subject where they don’t have all the necessary information. I’m sorry, but the talking heads in the media and on the internet sure don’t.

Secondly, one can excuse him on the Palestinian right of return. Lately, it doesn’t appear many even know the history of that region except what the revisionist Palestinians and the other Muslim countries want you to believe. If all the MSM is doing is regurgitating the propaganda they hear from Hamas and the PLO, then they have it wrong too. Essentially he is correct when he says this is not an issue the USA or any other country should determine. It ultimately should be decided by Israel and whoever they end up negotiating with.

As to his lack of foreign affairs experience, take a look at Obama. Need any more proof that one who can eloquently campaign and tell all of us how great they are and then show their complete incompetence after it’s too late.

iamsaved on June 11, 2011 at 8:00 AM

He’s a nice man, but it seems all his interviews are the same. He says a lot of talking points that sound great to tea people, but there is no there there.

Kissmygrits on June 11, 2011 at 8:53 AM

And how’s all that ‘political experience’ working out for you? He’s the only Conservative running.

DanaSmiles on June 11, 2011 at 9:33 AM

DanaSmiles on June 11, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Yeah, that’s his cute line. So what if he knows absolutely nothing about foreign affairs. That he hasn’t enough curiosity of the world beyond our borders to even be able discuss them in broad generalities. His pizza king job sets him apart as the savior of economy. And then he tells us his plan for the economy … the Fair Tax! Somebody ought to ask him by when he thinks we can get that pesky Constitution amended and what the hell we’re supposed to do in the mean time. And BTW, does he have a fallback plan in the oh-so-unlikely case that we can’t amend the Constitution?

MJBrutus on June 11, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Cain’s weakness in these interviews is he doesn’t know how to spin a bunch of BS. Nobody can answer this question about Iran. Energy independence would help in the long-term.

Short-term, other than another virus or a bomb there is no answer. And no presidential candidate should say those.

I like that Cain isn’t full of shyte like the rest.

bigred on June 11, 2011 at 9:54 AM

You’re losing me Cain. In fact, at this point, I would say you lost me. I really like you, your values are sound and your rhetoric is inspiring, but we’re looking for a President, not a spokesman. You’ve had plenty of time to brush up on your Foreign Policy. I am 30 years old and out of pure intellectual curiosity I know much more than you about the world outside out borders and could have given much more comprehensive answers to the questions that stump you, yet you’re the one running for President! I could only imagine what your answer would be to a relatively minor foreign policy issue such as the the Falkand Islands dispute ; Falkand what?

Daemonocracy on June 11, 2011 at 9:59 AM

bigred on June 11, 2011 at 9:54 AM

He could of said a number of things, but he either didn’t want to say anything controversial, didn’t know what to say, or is a Ron Paul isolationist at heart – all three of these concern me.

NATO couldn’t wait to bomb Libya, particularly the French who wanted their oil supply secure, but they do nothing with Iran. Why not go on TV and demand NATO assist in a blockade of Iran and pressure them? Why not condemn Obama for not supporting the green revolution and proclaiming that as President he would support and encourage future Green Revolutions? What about how Turkey and Brazil are facilitating the enrichment of Iranian uranium? The big reason why Iran is about to get nukes is because our allies aren’t working with us and in some respects are working against us.

Turkey is a NATO ally, they should be kicked out of the damn alliance if they continue to work with Iran. They are no longer the secular nation they once were, their once secular constitution is being torn to shreds by the Islamists and they have increasingly close ties to Russia who in turn have increasingly close ties to Brazil and Venezuela. We’re giving billions to Brazil for off shore oil drilling while we can’t drill in our own country and while they cozy up to Venezuela and work with Turkey in neutering sanctions on Iran. Then there is Russia who have always been against us.

Once Iran goes nuclear, the rest of the Arab world will follow. Turkey and Brazil will also want to go nuclear and that leaves us with one big clusterfark. Iran is part of a whole network of nations (China, Russia, Iran, Brazil, Syria, Venezuela) working to undermine us and a toothless NATO and I seriously doubt Herman Cain appreciates this.

We need to form military alliances with nations whose best interest it is to stand with us and who actually want to be our ally. Britain, India, Colombia, South Korea, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Japan and both Georgia and Taiwan should be fully embraced by the United States as all will serve as a counter measure to our enemies.

Also, not one word was said about Obama being stuck in the 80s with his asinine unilateral disarmament policies. Why the hell should be deplete our nuclear arsenal when enemy states are seeking to build up their own?

Nuclear Proliferation is a serious issue, Iran is a serious enemy, but Cain just didn’t come across as a serious candidate here.

Daemonocracy on June 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM

MJBrutus on June 11, 2011 at 9:43 AM

He knows who our friends are, he knows who our enemies are, he won’t alienate our friends and he won’t encourage our enemies to attack us. Why don’t you watch the debate Monday night, I’m almost certain you didn’t watch the first one or you would already know he is much more qualified than the rest. I’d rather have someone in office who knows he doesn’t know everything and won’t look like an idiot in every country he goes to than send an idiot that doesn’t know anything but thinks he knows it all. How can any country respect the United States when we send Obama to represent us? How anyone can even talk about ‘qualified’ since Obama was elected is beyond me.

DanaSmiles on June 11, 2011 at 10:48 AM

DanaSmiles on June 11, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I watched the first debate. He didn’t say much beyond the Fair Tax, which as I said doesn’t cut it as an answer to what ails us. As for knowing who are friends are, etc, I take it you’re comparing him to PBHO. Well a campaign slogan such as, “he doesn’t suck as bad as the guy we got” doesn’t cut it either.

MJBrutus on June 11, 2011 at 2:30 PM

The first was his unique refusal to opine about Afghanistan because he lacks inside information

barry opined about lots of stuff when he was a candidate and how many promises did he break? From increasing taxes on poor people the first week (tobacco tax) to not closing gitmo. Hermain Cain is rational and adult and it’s viewd by allah as a negative. allah, being a liberal, probably has a more simple reasons for discounting Cain.

peacenprosperity on June 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Here is the link to the complete interview segment, Discussion of Iran begins at 4:24.

BOR: A new report says Iran may have a nuclear weapon this year. How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

HC: The way you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is for us to get serious about a real energy independence strategy, because if we do…

BOR: That’s going to take longer than this year. How do you stop them from getting a nuke this year?

HC: Have a serious strategy, Bill –


HC: and if you have a serious strategy, it’s going to cause the speculators to speculate down instead of speculating up.

BOR: But that’s not going to stop Iran from…

HC: and if, if, Bill, Bill, Bill…

BOR: Even if you have prices go down, that’s not going to stop Iran from developing nukes.

HC: Bill, Bill, Bill, not in the short term, Bill. Look, here’s my punchline. If we help drive the price of oil down,

BOR: yeah?

HC: that hurts Iran, and if the price of oil gets down near $70 a barrel, we win. They won’t have the money to develop a nuclear program.

BOR: No, they’ve got, they’ll develop it anyway.

HC: Look what happened at OPEC today, Bill.

BOR: All right.

HC: Look at what happened at OPEC today. They couldn’t come to agreement because Venezuela and Iran, they want to drive the amount of oil down so the price can go up.

BOR: Listen, I got you on that, and I’m with you on that,


BOR: that we’ve got to get the price of oil down,

HD: All right. Yes.

BOR: but it’s not going to stop Iran from developing the nuke. OK, let’s – last question…

HC: They’ve already said that nothing can be said to stop them.

It seems to me that with his last sentence, Cain acknowledges that Iran cannot be reasoned with or bargained with. Considering that the cold war was “won” by maximizing the differential in economic output between West and East, perhaps it is reasonable to say that a similar approach could be effective against Iran. Should Cain have said that the bombing will begin 30 minutes after he assumes the office of the President?

lacerta on June 11, 2011 at 6:57 PM

If only John Bolton had Herman Cain’s charisma. . .

/Mr Lynn

MrLynn on June 11, 2011 at 8:19 PM

how many fumbles should base voters endure before deciding it’s too much of a risk?

Bing. Not a serious candidate…just a serious ego and ambition. O’Bozo-sized ego and ambition.

Jaibones on June 11, 2011 at 11:20 PM

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