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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jacoby: No amount of goodwill will get Iran to unclench their fists

Jeff Jacoby says it's time to stop trying 'engagement'.
Tehran’s apocalyptic rulers have not unclenched their fists, and no amount of goodwill is going to persuade them to do so. Perhaps that wasn’t clear to Obama a year ago. Now it is clear to almost everyone.

The closer Iran’s regime gets to acquiring nuclear weapons, the more critical it becomes to ostracize and change that regime. It isn’t only hawkish right-wingers who think so. In a recent New York Times essay, Alan J. Kuperman, director of Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas - as well as a former aide to such congressional liberals as Charles Schumer and Thomas Foley - called for American air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Middle East Forum’s Daniel Pipes, urging Obama to order such strikes before it is too late, notes that a majority of Americans, as measured in recent polls, favors using force to keep Iran from going nuclear.

In recent weeks, both houses of Congress passed bills imposing stiff sanctions on Iran, particularly by cutting off its access to the gasoline imports on which it heavily depends. The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate, and by a 412-to-12 vote in the House. Not much in Washington these days commands such overwhelming and bipartisan support.

It may still be possible to neutralize the threat of a nuclear armed Iran without military force, but we will never find out unless the president jettisons his fantasy of engagement. Millions of Iranian dissidents yearn for a decent government. The unabashed support of the Obama administration, backed up by very tough sanctions, would powerfully aid their cause.

The mullahs will never willingly unclench their fists. Most Americans acknowledge that reality. It’s time the president did too.
I would add that it won'g be possible to neutralize the threat of a nuclear armed Iran without military force unless we have a credible threat of military force and Iran understands that we (whether it be Americans - preferably - Israelis or both) are willing to use it. As long as we keep saying that the door to 'engagement' remains open (as the Obama administration said again on Wednesday), Iran is going to continue to move full speed ahead with its nuclear weapons development.

Read the whole thing.


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