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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Denocratic Legislators Vs. President Obama on Iran

(H/T to Weekly Standard) Yesterday, several prominent Democratic Legislators, including Steny Hoyer. sent President Obama this letter. The letter sounds as thought it was written by former UN ambassador John Bolton rather than members of the President's own party. Here are some of the highlights.

Engagement must be serious and credible, but it cannot be open-ended. Our goal should be to bring about Iran's near-term suspension of uranium enrichment, and we should offer Iran meaningful incentives in order to achieve this goal. But we cannot allow Iran to use diplomatic discussions as a cover for continuing to work on its nuclear program....

We urge that the talks begin as soon as possible, so that we will have the earliest possible indication of whether they will succeed in halting Iran's nuclear program. American action on this matter cannot be deferred...until after the Iranian presidential elections...

The legislators go on to propose a series of stiff economic sanctions on just about any business that does business in or with Iran. Now, while I agree with the sentiment, I am skeptical of the motives. In Illinois, the so called balanced budget amendment is routinely perverted through a series of accounting tricks. At other times, this is done outside the Constitution of the State. The state's comptroller, now Dan Hynes, will note the impropriety in footnotes when signing off on the budget. This allows the Comptroller a way to say that he warned everyone about the deficit being created in Illinois all while never really doing anything of substance about it.

If all these lawmakers only send this letter, that is the foreign policy equivalent of sounding the alarm in the footnote of the budget the way the Comptroller often does here in Illinois. If the situation is really as dire as they make it in the letter, they should be on every media that will have them sounding the same alarm. If they are really as concerned as they claim in the letter, this won't be the last we will hear from them.

While the economy has grabbed our attention, a nuclear Iran is the most dangerous geopolitical dynamic the president will have to deal with. While their nuclear program has taken a backseat the economic crisis, make no mistake, a nuclear Iran would change things in the Middle East and the world. The Democratic legislators have sounded the alarms that the President's policies only allow Iran more time to continue towards their ultimate goal of a full operational nuclear bomb. Now if they are serious about their concern, this letter will only be the beginning. They will continue to sound the alarm until the president takes this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

For my view on bringing Iran down peacefully take a look at this post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After reading your thoughts on how to take down Iran peacefully, I think you overestimate the degree to which the international community sees Iran as a threat, and underestimate the degree to which they are willing to work with them if it means getting in on a market the US has willingly excluded itself from.

Simply put, somebody will prop them up, either Russia or China. So the real question isn't how much pressure we can put on Iran. Its how much we can put on their supporters.