In the light on the obvious non-effectual nature of nuclear negotiations with Iran, six other Arab states decided they want to be nuclear powers. Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, UAE and Saudi Arabia all have announced plans to start working on nuclear technology. The obvious implication is that this “peaceful” research well within the “sovereign rights” of these nations will be used for nuclear weapons. For as much as people claim the US has shredding the Geneva Conventions, the bumbling over the Iran issue has lead to an effective dissolution of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

This is the obvious consequence of the fact that Iran is transparently developing nuclear weapons, that the world knows it, and that the UN isn’t and can’t do anything about it. Iran has thumbed its nose at the world and the world shuffles around and navel-gazes.

Iran knows they won’t be stopped by the UN because Russia and China have effectively said they won’t even allow sanctions, much less military action. The consequences of a nuclear Iran have no effect on China or Russia (as opposed to North Korea) and in fact, it distracts the US and makes life difficult for them. A US distracted and hampered by problems in the Middle East is a boon to Russian and China and they know it.

Both the Vietnam precedent and current public opinion on Iraq show the world that the US simply does not have the internal fortitude to get involved in a war that isn’t over in a few weeks. Saddam Hussein knew this which is why he planned the so-called insurgency before the war. He knew that if he could run the clock long enough, the public pressure in the US would cause us to eventually leave. Iran knows this too, so they are playing their cards that the US is too committed in Iraq and wouldn’t invade anyway.

The rest of the Arab world has watched and also come to the conclusion that they can simply ignore international law and there will be no consequences. No one takes the righteous indignation of UN bureaucrats seriously unless it can be followed by some action. The UN has showed itself to be incapable of action. The US has showed itself unwilling.

Either the UN and Europe needs to man up and deal with Iran or the world has a nuclear arms race on its hands. An arms race that will take place in one of the most volatile places in the world at that.

John Bambenek is the Assistant Politics Editor for Blogcritics and is an academic professional for the University of Illinois. He is a columnist for the Daily Illini and blogs at Part-Time Pundit deep from the corn fields of Illinois. He is the current owner of BlogSoldiers, a blog-only traffic exchange.

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