Monday, December 14, 2009

US ramping up threat of sanctions on Iran

Paul Woodward provides a nice round-up in The National, including a recent essay from Tony Karon

My view?
  • Sanctions are not going to accomplish much without Russia and China on board, and they have their own reasons to not go too far to alienate Iran.
  • According to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to proceed with uranium enrichment.  For Obama to persist with the Bush administration's hard-nosed stance that Iran must desist from all enrichment is (1) illegal and (2) non-productive.  Mr. el-Baradei puts it well: The Iranians have the knowledge to enrich uranium, and you can't bomb knowledge.
  • Much of the US's policy is being driven by Netanyahu's hype (which gets all too much traction among the US public and in the halls of Congress) about Iran's "existential threat" to Israel, the "mad mullahs," and that "crazy" Holocaust-denier Ahmadinejad.  Are the latter's views repulsive? Absolutely.  Is the current regime in Iran repressive? Indeed; no argument.  But even if the Iranians were to develop a nuclear-weapons capability (which is likely a long way off, despite all the commotion about the revelations in today's Times of London), they're not going to launch some nuclear strike to wipe out Israel.  But they would be able to counter the nuclear-reprisal threat that Israel has monopolized in the region so far.

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