Saturday, October 21, 2006

Three Lessons

The Russians won't punish Iran to get them to halt their nuclear weapons programs. Said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:

"We won't be able to support and will oppose any attempts to use the Security Council to punish Iran or use Iran's program in order to promote the ideas of regime change there," Lavrov said Friday in an interview with the Kuwaiti News Agency KUNA which was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry Web site Saturday.

In addition:

On Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the U.N. Security Council and its decisions "illegitimate," saying the world body was being used as a political tool by Iran's enemies — the United States and Britain.

So we know that Russia will not allow the UN to be used to pressure Iran. We must act with a Coalition of the Willing--for sanctions or military actions, it is clear.

Second, we know that Iran isn't interested in cooperating with the UN. Although this lesson is somewhat hazier because Iran knows Russia and China will stop the UN from doing anything too tough. Iran's tough talk is easier since they know they won't have to back it up by enduring UN sanctions.

But we can also learn that Iranian bombast and defiance makes it easier for Russia to run interference. If the UN looks at Iran and thinks Iran won't be influenced by sanctions anyway, why get upset with Russia for blocking sanctions? Further, and my real point, is that we can probably conclude that real sanctions on Iran would probably hurt Iran a lot. Why else would Iran want Russia to stop sanctions? Why else would Russia think that it is helping Iran if sanctions would be ineffective?

So let's put sanctions on Iran outside the UN. Serious sanctions. Maybe some serious economic dislocations will get the Iranian people to seriously challenge the regime on a sustained basis. And if we are preparing some type of coup inside Iran (as I hope we are), we'd get support from the people of Iran to end their misery under the mullahs.