The simple fact is that the world is less unified on Iran now than it was under President George W. Bush. True enough, Mr. Obama may hear fewer complaints about hard-charging U.S. foreign policies than his predecessor. But silence is not cooperation.The Obama Administration's Iran strategy manifestly has failed. Ed Lasky affirms that "the problem is Obama":
The Bush administration got five Security Council resolutions passed on Iran starting in 2006. Three were sanctions resolutions. The Security Council was unanimous on two of the votes and lost only one country's support (Indonesia) in the third vote in 2008. In total, the Bush team lost the support of one country in its three sanctions resolutions while the Obama team lost the support of three countries in one resolution.
Two views are emerging in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on Iran's nuclear weapons. While one camp believes the Iranians are close to obtaining nuclear weapons, the other side believes they haven't mastered the technology and that time still remains to work out a diplomatic, non-military solution.
The Obama team falls in the second camp. It is calling for more diplomacy and more international pressure--as if U.S. diplomats haven't tried to convince Iran or its neighbors that its pursuit of a nuclear weapon is not a good idea.
And that's what's so dangerous about the president's spin. His administration professes that the world is unified in pressuring Iran, but what the international community is really unified about is doing nothing.
The pronouncements from the White House that unity from the international community is its priority are naïve and treacherous excuse-making. And if consensus is the mandate, then the Obama team has already failed that test with the divided-support for their only resolution. More importantly, the Russians and the Chinese, with their complaints about another round of sanctions, have scared off the Obama team from calling for a vote on another resolution.
Mr. Obama's gamble that we have time before Iran gets a nuclear weapon is perilous. Those calling for more pressure on Russia and China to comply with current sanctions miss the reality of Iran's pursuit and the weakness of the Obama team. If Russia and China can vote for multiple Iran sanctions resolutions but ignore them--and then resist subsequent demands to comply with previous resolutions or produce new ones--then giving them more time to realize the errors of their ways is foolish.
The strategy to increase pressure on Iran through international sanctions had a chance to work. But the president released that pressure and ignored the previous U.S. work to try his personal diplomacy. The Obama team has succeeded in stopping countries from grumbling about U.S. policy, but that's only because they haven't called for an Iran vote in almost 18 months.
Where is the logic, then, of the administration periodically trotting out the statement that "all options are on the table"? This is a codephrase for a military option. It is also used to try to garner support among supporters of Israel in America. It is a campaign slogan and political strategy; it is not a real threat, and the Iranians know this fact. Why some Americans are gullible enough to believe Obama's latest campaign slogan is the topic of another column.Then there are those rooting for failure, such as the liberal Guardian (U.K.), which thinks Iran's nuke program is fully justified as a deterrent. Guess the Guardian got confused about which Mid-East country vowed to wipe a neighboring country "off the map."