It took just a week for 2012 to become a very dangerous year
On the eve of Pearl Harbor day 2011, a question was asked after the leader of the Peoples Republic of China made a significantly bellicose statement to all PLA forces especially the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) .
President Hu of the Peoples Republic of China sounded "General Quarters" on the eve of Pearl Harbor Day in calling for the PLAN to make ready for combat. The US official response was a call for "transparency." Amazing spin by the Administration.
After all, how much more transparent does China have to be?
Unfortunately that rhetorical question was actually answered by the PRC and the prospects for a peaceful resolution of stopping Iran from getting a workable nuclear device just became much more serious.
In response to the US and Pacific allies "strategic adjustment" in looking to build credible war deterring Pacific forces, China has now made another direct and blunt statement.
"The US strategic adjustment highlights Iran's importance to China. Iran's existence and its stance form a strong check against the US. ("Global Times (China) January 6, 2012)
In the first week of 2012, China has just answered Secretary Panetta' s pre Christmas Iranian "Red line" statement with one of their own:
"The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon," Mr. Panetta said. "That's a red line for us. And it's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis."
Now here is where the plot thickens, because the prediction about an Iranian nuke was walked back. The New York Times:
"But on Tuesday, (Dec 20 2011) George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, said Mr. Panetta's comments should not be taken as a prediction that Iran would have a nuclear weapon within a year.
"The secretary was clear that we have no indication that the Iranians have made a decision to develop a nuclear weapon," Mr. Little said. "He was asked to comment on prospective and aggressive timelines on Iran's possible production of nuclear weapons - and he said if, and only if, they made such a decision. He didn't say that Iran would, in fact, have a nuclear weapon in 2012."
However, after the PRC statement about Iran's importance, US and Allied intelligence community tasking should be to address a very simple question: "Is or will the PRC help Iran achieve a workable device?" Smart people I hope have long ago thought of this question -- but now events are accelerating because of the very public statements by PRC. Ultimately, the PRC does not bluff.
The attack on Libya, regardless of other issues, sent a powerful signal to Iran that a workable and credible nuke is an important weapon -- especially if you are the fanatical and aggressive leader of a nation that has pledged to destroy Israel..
After all Gaddafi gave up his nuke program and Kim Jong-il didn't, and now the late Dear Leader is looking like a strategic genius in stopping any combat action against his nation. The lesson being learned outside the beltway is that an atomic bomb might be the only thing between their survival and American "ready fire aim" diplomacy.
Iran's take away from all this is probably to quickly race for a demo burst -- and Israel should be extremely concerned.
Will China help Iran develop a weapon -- and what about the day after any US/IDF combat action?
That question was raised over two years ago and is still critically important. The Washington Times:
"So the big unanswered question is: What do Russia, China and North Korea do to help their client? Does an IAF attack lead them to race in and provide arms to help Iran?"
2012 just became an increasingly dangerous year for keeping big power world peace.