The Corner

Dealing with Iran

A bit of an off-shoot of the meetings thread, this comes from our editorial on McCain’s AIPAC speech:

McCain did not call for a blockade, but he is right to put the question of gasoline imports on the table.

He is right to do so because, in this case, effective diplomacy is tough diplomacy. We can all agree that it is best to counter the Iranian threat without resorting to force of arms, if lesser measures can be effective. What McCain’s likely general-election opponent seems not to understand is that arms become less necessary to the degree that these lesser measures are invoked, and the threats associated with them believed. Barack Obama has said he favors unconditional negotiations with Iran’s rulers. These same rulers have said they will not change their plans for us, and their actions show they mean it. (Specifically: They charge full speed ahead on uranium enrichment, despite a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that they stop.) What could Obama the Diplomat say to change their minds, if he is not willing to make clear that they will be punished for defiance?

The threat posed by Iran is severe and metastasizing. We have every reason to believe the regime seeks nuclear weapons. We know it has a history of sponsoring and executing terrorist acts. (Speaking of, didn’t Barack Obama vote against designating its Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist entity?) We see plainly that negotiation without penalty has not worked: For years the European Union pursued this tack, even as Iran grew closer to having the capacity to manufacture a nuclear weapon. What John McCain offers is diplomacy backed up by credible threats. What Barack Obama offers is appeasement at worst and naïveté at best. It will be good for John McCain, good for America, and good for the world if McCain continues to explain the difference.

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