Roger L. Simon

Intransigent Design

Some things are confusing and some are not in Iran’s continued standoff with the West. No one seems to know what to do. Rep. Tom Lantos suggests:

The Bush Administration must be more assertive with our friends and allies, and Russia and China, to convince them that continued trade and investment will lure the Ayatollahs of Terror away from their multi-year quest for nuclear weapons. If persuasion fails, then the United States must finally use the sanctions authority in U.S. law to punish and deter those who continue to invest in, and thereby aid and abet, a state bent on adding nuclear weapons to its arsenal of terror.

This campaign to stop a nuclear Iran must begin on February 2nd, when all responsible Member States of the IAEA must vote in the affirmative to send Iran to the Security Council. Anything less will give fresh hope to the Ayatollahs of Terror that the world will remain tremulous and divided in the face of their threats. We in the Congress will watch carefully who among our friends will stand up and be counted.

They may watch, but what does that mean? Only a few paragraphs earlier, Lantos himself put the calculus this way:

Ahmadinejad, in a rare moment of lucidity, revealed Tehran’s view in this regard: “The West needs us more than we need them.” With billions of dollars of Western investment in its oil and gas fields off the table, why would the offer of some lesser additional trade be tempting enough to convince Tehran to forego its 18-year quest for The Bomb? In other words, when you already own the carrot patch, where’s the incentive in a few more carrots – especially if you expect them to be offered from an acquiescent West after you do “go nuclear?”

Not to mention China, whose interests in Iranian oil trump everbody’s. Scary times, indeed. Frances Fukuyama, where are you? [Don’t look for your stocks to go up on Monday.-ed. I’m not.]