October 26, 2007

Surrender Democrats Can't Even Abide Sanctions

Iran has spent years hiding their development of nuclear weapons, followed by years of refusing to negotiate on ending their program. The EU attempted a two-year conversation with Teheran to shut down their efforts; the Russians offered to build and run nuclear power plants for Iran while controlling the fuel. All of these efforst came to nothing. Faced with an intransigent theocracy determined to build nuclear weapons while spouting genocidal rhetoric, the Bush administration has pushed for an escalating series of sanctions intended to force Iran into serious negotiations.

Does he get support from the Democrats, who have complained loudly about the "rush to war" with Iraq? Not exactly:

In approving far-reaching, new unilateral sanctions against Iran, President Bush signaled yesterday that he intends to pursue a strategy of gradually escalating financial, diplomatic and political pressure on Tehran, aimed not at starting a new war in the Middle East, his advisers said, but at preventing one.

Bush believes Tehran will not seriously discuss limiting its nuclear ambitions or pulling back from its involvement in Iraq unless it experiences significantly more pressure than the United States and the international community have been able to exert so far, according to administration officials and others familiar with the president's thinking.

With yesterday's actions, which included the long-awaited designations of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, Bush made clear that he is willing to seek such leverage even without the support of his European allies. ...

Even so, the administration's actions yesterday immediately rekindled fears among Democrats and other countries that the administration is on a path toward war. Bush's charged rhetoric in recent months, including a warning that Iran could trigger a "nuclear holocaust," and his close consultations with hard-liners -- such as former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz -- have led many outside the White House to conclude that the president will order airstrikes to eliminate any Iranian nuclear capability.

"The choice of words has given rise to concerns about just how serious the president is about stopping Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold on his watch," said Suzanne Maloney, an expert on Iran.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said in a statement yesterday that Bush's action "not only echoes the chest-pounding rhetoric which preceded the invasion of Iraq in 2002, but also raises the specter of an intensified effort to make the case for an invasion of Iran."

What else would the Democrats do? The US allowed the EU to take the lead on negotiations with Iran throughout 2005-6, given their closer relationship with Teheran. Democrats, who had griped about Bush's "unilateralism" on Iraq, called this "out-sourcing". Bush went to the UN twice and got two rounds of sanctions. This year, our allies told us that they could not support tightening sanctions, so Bush instead tightened them on Iranian military financial connections.

We have only a couple of more options. We could go to war, or we could allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. Bush has continued to use the only other option, which is continued sanctions and diplomatic pressure designed to return Iran to the bargaining table as a serious participant. He managed to succeed with North Korea using the same tactics and without resorting to war -- something these Democrats don't apparently want to recognize.

If the Democratic policy on Iran involves surrendering, then let them say so. A nuclear Iran would exponentially amplify the danger from terrorism not just in the Middle East, but around the world. If the Democrats don't wan't war -- I don't either -- then let them explain why they oppose stricter sanctions and diplomatic pressure as an intermediate step. The Democrats have become a group of hysterical screamers with nothing positive to add except to throw their hands up at the first sign of difficulty and to declare defeat before all options have been exhausted. (via Memeorandum)


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