Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sanctions, what sanctions?

The foreign ministers of the EU have announced that they will not support sanctions against Iran unless the UN Security Council (which includes China and Russia) does so as well. This is exactly the position I've been expected them to take. A couple of observations:

-- This confirms the futility of the Obama administration's multilateral approach to Iran, since the Chinese have said quite clearly that they do not support sanctions.

-- When even the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel finally discovers that Iran may be pursuing nuclear weapons, do not for a moment expect the Europeans to let that interfere with their booming trade with Iran. Indeed, Goli Ameri has it right: "The continued focus on Russia and China's intransigence is allowing Europe to stay under the radar." To be precise: "In 2008 the EU was—in its own words—the "first trade partner of Iran," with imports and exports totalling €25.4 billion ($36.4 billion) followed by China, Japan, and South Korea."

Mind you, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying that we should find sanctions that only hurt the Iranian elite, I don't think the United States has much of a policy either. I realize no one wants to consult the Bush record, but in 2000-2001 then Secretary Powell spent a lot of time trying to get agreement on 'smart sanctions' against Iraq. He failed.

I just want to know if Vice President Joe Biden's warning is still operative. He said we would shoot down any Israeli planes flying over Iraq to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

Is anyone out there ashamed?

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