The usual suspects urge Obama to 'rethink' sanctions against Iranonly hurting the Iranian people and turning them against the United States. No kidding.
In a report issued by the Iran Project, the former diplomats and experts suggested that the sanctions policy, rather than bolstering diplomacy, may be backfiring. As the pressure has increased, the group concluded, sanctions have “contributed to an increase in repression and corruption within Iran” and “may be sowing the seeds of long-term alienation between the Iranian people and the United States.”
The critique comes as both Israel and Congress are urging the administration to go in the opposite direction, to put a sharp time limit on negotiations and, if necessary, to go beyond the financial and oil sanctions that have caused a tremendous drop in the value of the Iranian currency and sent inflation soaring.
“I fundamentally believe that the balance between sanctions and diplomacy has been misaligned,” said Thomas R. Pickering, who was one of the State Department’s highest-ranking career diplomats and whom the department has called on to head up important investigations, including one into the death last fall of the American ambassador to Libya.
In an interview, Mr. Pickering also contended that Mr. Obama should review the covert program against Iran — which has included computer sabotage of its nuclear facilities — to “stop anything that is peripheral, that is not buying us much time” in slowing Iran’s progress. The report itself, however, says nothing about the sabotage effort, which has been a major element of the American strategy.
The sanctions aren't working. They're being violated right and left, and there are more (meaningful) countries with exemptions than there are countries abiding by them. As severe as they can be made, they will never stop Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.Mr. Pickering, who is such a towering figure in the State Department that a major program to train young diplomats is named for him, is not the only prominent signatory of the report. Others include Lee H. Hamilton, who was a leader of the commission on the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and serves on Mr. Obama’s intelligence advisory board; Anne-Marie Slaughter, the director of policy planning during Mr. Obama’s first term; and Ryan C. Crocker, who served in many prominent ambassadorial positions. Former Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, an early mentor to Mr. Obama in the Senate, was among the Republican signatories.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and his team made a mistake going along too zealously with the Obama administration to give the sanctions a chance. It's now time to correct that mistake. It's now time for Israel to tell the truth: That the only way to stop Iran is militarily.
In two earlier posts, I reported that within 3-4 months, the United States will be unable to take meaningful military action against Iran, and that Iran is actually speeding up its nuclear program. It is indeed time to 'rethink' the sanctions and to move on to stronger measures.
What could go wrong?