Bolton: Israel has eight days to attack Iran

The clock is ticking, according to the former U.N. ambassador: 

Iran is to bring online its first nuclear power reactor, built with Russia's help, on August 21, when a shipment of nuclear fuel will be loaded into the plant's core.

At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians.

"Once that uranium, once those fuel rods are very close to the reactor, certainly once they're in the reactor, attacking it means a release of radiation, no question about it," Bolton told Fox Business Network.

"So if Israel is going to do anything against Bushehr it has to move in the next eight days."

Before you start stocking up on canned goods, it's worth noting that according to Bolton, right now is always the best time to attack Iran. In July 2009, he said that Israel would likely attack by the end of last year. In June 2008, he said it would have be before the end of the Bush administration. Way back in 2007, he was saying that "time is limited."

Bolton doesn't actually think that Israel will attack Iran this week, and believes that they have "lost this opportunity," but something tells me this isn't the last time that Bolton will give the Israelis an extension on their deadline. 

Update: Just a few hours after the Fox interview, Bolton told Israeli Radio that Israel only has three days left to attack Iran. That was a fast five days! 


Aussie PM: Let's drop the monarchy after the Queen goes

With close-fought elections coming up on Saturday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has proposed that the country do away with it's recognition of the British monarchy, but only after the reign of Queen Elizabeth ends: 

"What I would like to see as the prime minister is that we work our way through to an agreement on a republic. But I think the appropriate time for this nation to be a republic will be when we see the monarch change."

Ms Gillard added that she obviously wanted to see Queen Elizabeth live a long and happy life.

"Having watched her mother, there's every chance that she will," she said.

Gillard's opponent Tony Abbot is a staunch monarchist. Australians voted against a referendum to replace the monarchy with a president in 1999. Obviously Gillard meant her comments as a gesture of respect to the Queen, but I'm not sure if referring to her eventual demise was the right way to go about it. 

Gillard's suggestion does raise an interesting question about the future of European monarchy though. The current generation of Western European monarchs, while excercising no political power, are accorded a certain amount of public respect largely because they've been around for decades. (Juan Carlos I of Spain: 34 years, Beatrix of the Netherlands: 30 years, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden: 36 years, Elizabeth II of Britain: 58 years) It seems likely that their offsping may have a much harder time convincing their subjects of their continued relevance in today's Europe. That case might be even harder for Prince Charles and Prince William after him, who will technically and anachronistically be the heads of state for 16 independent countries.