Saturday, April 10, 2010

President Obama's Foreign Policy: The Empty Suit Strategy

So far, in order to appease the Russians, President Obama has pulled the missile shield for Eastern Europe, signed a START II nuclear armament reduction agreement and pledged to not use nuclear weapons, even in defense against a chemical or biological attack. In return, President Obama wants help from Russia to contain Iran's nuclear weapons ambition. Obama wants Russia to cooperate with the US and Western Europe by imposing stiff sanctions against Iran. How is that working out? Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog explains how President Obama's strategy is failing.
President Obama's "reset" of relations with Russia does not appear to have translated into Russian support for strong sanctions against Iran. According to the Washington Post, Russian President Medvedev has told Obama that there are limits to his country's support for sanctions.

What are those limits? According to the Post, sanctions must not create economic hardship for Iran, foment financial chaos, or lead to regime change. In other words, sanctions must not produce any result that might conceivably cause the Iranian regime to give up its quest for nuclear weapons.

But even Russian approval for watered-down sanctions would not mean the imposition of such sanctions. China, which like Russia is a member of the Security Council, must also give its approval. And China reportedly is even less enthusiastic about sanctions than Russia.

Even if Russia and China would cooperate fully, which they won't, no amount of sanctions will deter rogue nations like Iran from pursuing their nuclear weapons ambition. We have nothing to offer them that is more valuable to them than a nuclear arsenal. Once they have nuclear weapons and long range delivery systems, they can extract almost anything they want from their neighbors and the West by using threats, fear and nuclear brinkmanship. The only thing that could possibly deter Iran from continuing down the road to developing nuclear weapons would be the certain knowledge of a devastating military attack if they don't desist. Based on President Obama's current strategic and foreign policy stance, there is little chance of this occurring. The Iranians have no fear of an "empty suit" like President Obama.

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