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To Sanction or not to Sanction

October 16th, 2013 - 9:35 am

Speaking of chaos on the Hill, that’s where Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom’s Iran policy is — with his own party:

The Obama administration is facing an unexpected hurdle in its new nuclear talks with Iran – a sizeable bloc of Democratic lawmakers who have made clear that they would break with the White House and fight any effort to lift the current sanctions on Tehran.

The White House has already signaled a potential openness to that kind of deal, but a wide array of powerful Democrats — including the top members of both the Senate and House foreign affairs committees — strongly oppose lifting any of the existing sanctions on Iran unless Tehran offers concessions that go far beyond anything Zarif has talked about in Geneva. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, has also promised to do everything in its power to keep the punitive measures in place.

“If the president were to ask for a lifting of existing sanctions it would be extremely difficult in the House and Senate to support that,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Cable. “I’m willing to listen but I think that asking Congress to weaken and diminish current sanctions is not hospitable on Capitol Hill.”

“I’d say no,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) when asked if he’d accept a presidential plea to lift sanctions. “They’ve got a long way to go to demonstrate the kind of credibility that would lead us to believe we can move in a conciliatory direction. And sanctions are what has strengthened the administration’s hand.”

I’ve never understood the Administration’s Iran policy, which seems to consist of enforcing debilitating sanctions until they become so intolerable that they have to be lifted. Or something.

At least they’ve worked well enough that Iran has put something on the table, but the Professor seems so far unwilling to ask for more.

Maybe he forgot to tell Rouhani not to call his bluff.

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Reminds me of Churchill's comment about Stanley Baldwin's sanctions against Mussolini - he talks about how they sanctioned everything except the stuff that really mattered, because the goal was to send a message and not to actually harm their ability to wage war. As a result, Italy's military was still fully functional(well, by Italian standards), but they were so pissed off that they defected to the German camp, after spending WW1 so enamoured by the Allies that they actually broke their main defensive treaty to join the war on the Allied side.
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