Sunday, December 11, 2011

Iran Policy Conflict

Congress Rebuffs Administration Pleas to Ease Iran Sanctions

Republicans and Democrats are pressing ahead with sanctions that would target foreign banks that do business with Iran's Central Bank. Tough sanctions are the most viable option short of a military strike on Iran. The sanctions measure sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was added to a broader defense bill now the subject of closed-door negotiations.
(AP-Washington Post)

Sending the Wrong Signals to Iran -Editorial

Iran has been showing signs of increasing nervousness about the possibility that its nuclear program will come under attack by Israel or the U.S. From the West's point of view, this alarm is good: The more Iran worries about a military attack, the more likely it is to scale back its nuclear activity. The only occasion in which Tehran froze its weaponization program came immediately after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when it feared it might be the next American target.

What doesn't make sense is a public spelling out of reasons against military action - like that delivered by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last Friday. Alarmed Iranian leaders could well conclude that they have no reason for concern after all.

The administration is resisting pressure from allies such as France and from Congress to sanction the Iranian central bank. The administration's stance resembles Mr. Panetta's message. In effect, it is signaling that it is determined to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon - unless it means taking military or diplomatic risks, or paying an economic price.
(Washington Post)

The Importance of Sanctioning Iran's Central Bank -Ilan Berman

The Administration worries about the potential impact of such a designation on global oil prices. However, countries like Saudi Arabia have already indicated their willingness to ramp up oil output in order to offset any commodity price increases that would occur if and when Iranian oil goes offline. And if Washington makes judicious use of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to mitigate price spikes in the global energy market, the effects on domestic consumers are likely to be more minimal still.


LHwrites said...

Let's be real; the administration cannot win here. Obama has done everything the Republicans have ever done for the economy just like Regan did and W. Bush started to do, but too late. He is being attacked at every turn by Republican's who have only one plan--low taxes on the rich---even though he gave it to them by extending the Bush tax cuts that did not work in the first place. Now they want him to take actions that would throw the world economy into further turmoil so they can then attack the economy. Saudi Arabia is willing to increase production but it has been atated by many independent analysts that they cannot make up the difference. It is funny how Forbes says we can use the strategic oil reserve when they, and Bachmann, among others, attacked the president when he used it to stop the crazy oil price swings in the past. If Obama is going to take any of these actions against Iran it will be after the economy is on firmer ground, after he is reelected and the country is free from the damage the conservatives, who do not seem to care about the country or the world (only that Obama not be reelected), can do.

Bruce said...

But the policy debate I was featuring was on Iran, not who should occupy the White House next.

Please note that the first piece I used highlights the stark differences between Congressional Dems & President Obama. And the second piece I used was from the [usually very supportive of President Obama] Washington Post.

Many important Democrats are strongly opposing their own President's Iran policy.

And even the EU is taking a stronger stance than President Obama.

This is a huge error on Obama's part. And it is the issue that will potentially define his Presidency in the long run. If he wins a second term and Iran goes nuclear, it will be on his watch.


LHwrites said...

The White House race is sadly intertwined with Iran. As I said, the American economy is not in a position to make these moves now. Democrats are looking to make their own waves because they perceive Obama is weak because of the economy. If they have abandoned his ship because they believe the economy will not be strong enough to reelect him, then they do not care if there is a short term economic upheaval if they can be perceived as accomplishing something public opinion supports. When Bush invaded Afghanistan and even Iraq the Democrats pulled behind him (at least the majority) because that is what you should do. Since the beginning the Republicans have made it their stated goal to get him out of office. Much like Bush starting the stimulus spending so the new president would not have to initiate a costly and contentious program, you wait and see if Obama is not reelected how quick the new Republican president is to take on Iran in a way that damages the economy further. They are pushing Obama because a devastated economy before hand gives them an election victory, and if he does not do it and they still win---they have to slam the economy. I believe if Obama is reelected with nothing further to lose once the economy improves he will take on Iran. I believe this is far more palatable for his second term than any Republican will find it in their first term. If a Republican wins the presidency I predict far less of a response than they are calling for now. As for the op-ed in the Washington Post--of course slamming Iran is the desirable choice, but it is easy to call for immediate action when you don't actually make policy and don;t have to consider the ramifications beyond what you want to accomplish.

Bruce said...

Hm...why not believe that these Dems are taking a principled stance on an issue that will define our generation?

I met Menendez at a national AIPAC conference...he's very, very strong on Israel and really understands the MidEast.