The Sanctions Paradox

(National Review) Clifford D. May - The sanctions being imposed on Iran are unlikely to succeed, yet they are an essential component of any serious and strategic policy mix. Sanctions may be most useful after a strike against Iran's nuclear-weapons facilities. At that point, American and other Western diplomats will need all the leverage they can get to assure that Iran's rulers verifiably end the nuclear-weapons program, halt terrorism sponsorship, and ease domestic oppression. If an agreement cannot be reached, continuing and even tightening sanctions will make it more difficult for Iran to replace facilities destroyed after a military option has been exercised. Those who rule Iran are ambitious, hateful, and ruthless - but they are not stupid. They recognize and respect strength. They smell weakness and comprehend the strategic opportunity open to them when their enemies vacillate. If sanctions pressures increase and if there is a credible threat of military force behind them, a peaceful diplomatic resolution of the nuclear standoff becomes a possibility. By contrast, irresolution and attempts at appeasement can only enhance the likelihood of conflict by emboldening those who believe they are waging a divinely endorsed war against America and the West. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2013-03-01 00:00:00

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