A nuclear Iran
Team Obama intends to use sanctions to dissuade Tehran from getting a nuke. So expect Tehran to ramp up work to arm itself (and perhaps its surrogates) with a nuke. The renewed push for “sanctions with bite” — following last week’s news of yet another clandestine Iranian nuclear facility — can serve only to abet Iran.
By “sanctions” our policy-makers do not mean the kind of painful, air-tight economic restrictions on trade that aim at imploding the regime, and so doing away with the threat it poses to us. No, the steps they have in mind aim at little more than inconveniencing the hostile regime — for example, travel bans on some Iranian government officials tied to the nuclear project, and (readily circumvented) limitations on foreign trade with certain Iranian banks. The point of such toothless sanctions is to cajole Iran into considering our syrupy offer of yet another second chance . . . to accept our latest appeasing deal.
Even these (pseudo) sanctions may never materialize. Russia and China, which have close ties to Iran, will likely block or further weaken them at the U.N. But let’s imagine the improbable happens: that Washington gets its package of (pseudo) sanctions on Iran. What then?
How much behind-the-scenes haggling and favor-peddling would that take? How many months, or years, will elapse before some discernible action steps emerge? And, even if all of that can be fast-tracked, how much time must pass before people accept that these measures have done nothing to advance our security? For upwards of thirty years Iran has been subject to assorted economic sanctions in this vein. Nevertheless it remains the leading sponsor of Islamist terrorism. And remember that for the last few years G.W. Bush’s team tried the kind of sanctions Obama now seeks, and look where we are today: Iran is reportedly closer to acquiring nuclear capability.
What the scramble for so-called sanctions today would accomplish is only the winding down of the clock as Iran strides toward its malignant goal.