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Friday, February 19, 2010

Still no sign of American leadership on Iran

You all remember that President Obumbler was going to give Iran until the end of September to 'engage' over its nuclear plans. Then Iran got an extension until the end of the year, because it agreed to meet with the P - 5 + 1 in Vienna in October. Then a sanctions resolution couldn't be introduced in January, because Libya was chairing the Security Council and would not allow it to be raised. But February would be an auspicious month, because France - which favors sanctions - is chairing the Council.

Well, we're now well into the second half of February (19 days gone - at least in part - and 9 to go) and there's still no sign of a sanctions resolution hitting the Council.
February has arrived, but the Chinese are still opposed to sanctions and the Iranians are enriching their uranium to a higher level. Obama's response is that he has had it and the time has come for sanctions and immediately - which means within a few weeks, perhaps by the end of March. In March, however, Gabon will assume the presidency of the Security Council, and it is not certain that Iran is at the top of its agenda. And there are still the problems with the Chinese.

And if we assume that ultimately there will be sanctions, so what? The involvement with sanctions, who's for and who's against, when, why and to what extent, deflects from the primary problem - the absence of an American strategy for tough negotiations with Iran. Even more serious, however, is that there are worrying signs that the Obama administration is beginning to resign itself not only to the fact that Iran will continue to enrich uranium, but also to recognition that the Islamic republic could ultimately build a nuclear bomb.

When you begin to reconcile with a specific reality, you stop trying to change it. And then we hear more about the need to deter and contain Iran than about stopping it, about a nuclear umbrella for America's allies in the Persian Gulf instead of a firm negotiating strategy against Iran. And sanctions alone won't stop Iran.

The role of sanctions and other pressure, such as credible military threats, is to convince Iran that time is not on its side and it would be better to seriously negotiate with the West. Only then will the diplomatic work of American-Iranian negotiations begin, with a goal of an arrangement that would eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat.

There is no sign that the Obama administration intends to mobilize the necessary political muscle to lead such a process. An additional decision on ineffective sanctions will apparently satisfy the U.S. So, we tried.
The diagnosis is correct; the solution is not.
The weakness that Obama is showing toward Iran has implications for America's global leadership role. Israel must speak to the Americans about this, and instead of focusing on sanctions, should try to determine if and how the U.S. intends to lead a comprehensive process leading to a solution. Without genuine American determination, there is no prospect of preventing the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons.
Yes, indeed, Obama's weakness has serious implications for America's leadership role. But Obama doesn't believe that America can or should be a (let alone "the") world leader. To be a world leader, you have to believe in your own exceptionalism. Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, and he has done and continues to do everything in his power to degrade it.

What could go wrong?


At 2:36 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

we should make an effort to eliminate A`djad and Khamenei, much easier and safer than attack Iran


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