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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama still can't take 'no' for an answer

Glenn Kessler has a lengthy column in the Washington Post about the preparations that the United States is making for sanctions against Iran.
Now, in what may be a difficult balancing act, officials say the administration wants to carefully target sanctions to avoid alienating the Iranian public -- while keeping the door ajar to a resolution of the struggle over Iran's nuclear program. The aim of any sanctions is to force the Tehran government to the negotiating table, rather than to punish it for either its apparent push to develop a nuclear weapon or its treatment of its people.

"We have never been attracted to the idea of trying to get the whole world to cordon off their economy," said a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. "We have to be deft at this, because it matters how the Iranian people interpret their isolation -- whether they fault the regime or are fooled into thinking we are to blame."

As a result, top officials show little apparent interest in legislation racing through Congress that would punish companies that sell refined petroleum to Iran. "Sanctions would not be an alternative to engagement," another senior official said. "Our intention is to keep the door open."
Did anyone ask the Iranian people how they feel about sanctions against their country? Everything I have seen indicates that the Iranian people want the government and the Revolutionary Guard hit and hit hard. The Iranian people, according to every report I have seen, are willing to suffer under a sanctions regimen if it will overthrow the government. But of course Obama, who is still convinced that someday - someday - Ali Khameni will invite him for dinner and a conversation, is unwilling to do anything that would bring about regime change in Iran.

Moreover, the time for pinpoint targeted sanctions was a year ago when Iran wasn't so close to a nuclear weapon. A year ago, there was (or might have been) time for a go-slow approach. But with a year wasted on YouTube greetings and love letters, there is no longer time for the pinpoint targeted approach. Iran has to be stopped. Anything that doesn't work almost instantaneously is practically useless at this point. Obama is convinced that a nuclear Iran can be contained. He is unwilling to even start the fight. He has given it up even before it has begun. It is likely to remain to Israel and to Israel alone to try to stop - or at least slow down - the Iranian nuclear juggernaut.

What could go wrong?


At 10:01 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The US seems intent on ignoring its own end of the year deadline. For the mullahs, Obama is a paper tiger who will do nothing to them. He can't even embrace regime change. So much for hopenchange!


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