The Corner

Re: 21st Century Deterrence

Mario, that statement by the president is not simply threatening Iran with diplomatic isolation. It is threatening economic sanctions from Europe, and perhaps from Russia and China as well. I have my doubts about whether those sanctions will be forthcoming. (See “Doves Fly Toward Iran.”) But the stick the president is trying to use consists of economic sanctions, imposed on Iran by the world as a whole. This is also what Henry Kissinger was pushing for in his WaPo Op-Ed the other day. The new and implicit American policy toward Iran (soon to be explicit) is the offer of a grand bargain, with tough economic sanctions as the penalty. I doubt the rest of the world will come across with sanctions, and the Dems are undermining the whole deal by talking about an Iraq troop pull-out. In any case, a key question is whether the doves who now run the world will be able to impose the sort of tough economic sanctions that might get them close to a (probably ill-advised) “grand bargain” with Iran. You will see increasing focus, and probably considerable internal debate in Europe in the coming months, on the question of economic sanctions. Without tough and persistent economic sanctions, the European preference for a bargain with Iran will be revealed as hollow posturing.


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