As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Moving Right Along

Looks like Europe is completely on board with a new UN resolution on Iran, and Russia and China could be persuaded to recommend additional sanctions.

The proposal specifically designates the Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, for exporting arms prohibited under previous resolutions and for proliferation activity. It is highly unusual for the world body to sanction a military wing of a member state, officials say. The proposed measure would freeze any of its assets abroad, make business dealings with it illegal and isolate it financially, they add.

The Quds Force numbers up to 15,000 and runs Tehran's foreign covert operations, including arms, aid and training for groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Iraq's Shiite militias, U.S. and European officials say [...]

Officials from several countries said the proposal indicates that there is still an appetite for significant new punitive measures against Iran even after the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate last week concluded that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

This seems counter-intuitive, but Matt Yglesias thinks that it actually makes a lot of sense.

The fact of the NIE's release seems like a decisive signal that the really nutty war faction inside the Bush administration has been defeated and that policy is being driven by people who are worried about Iranian nuclear activities, but who also have a basic grip on reality. American officials like that are the sort of officials that diplomats around the world are prepared to work with. Foreign officials weren't, however, interested in being used as dupes who were supposed to provide a veneer of cover for an insane military adventure. I bet that if you saw a new administration with a clearer commitment to laying out a path for improved US-Iranian relations, you'd see even more willingness on the part of the international communtiy to contemplate punitive measures if Iran is unresponsive.

It's funny how a belief in the general sanity of the United States can lead to productivity on the global stage. My concern is that the Israelis are less than sane on this issue, and there's still a fair amount of lunacy stateside so that the world community should be a little more skeptical. We haven't done a very good job of checking the desires of the Vice President over here, if you haven't noticed.

UPDATE: Man, if deterrance was back, that'd be a welcome development, but one of the poorer legacies of the Bush Administration is to kind of blot out the very notion of deterrance, and give people the impression that any national effort to block the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, for example, is a necessarily imperialist act.

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