Across the Bay

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Narrowing Options on Iran

Here's my piece in NOW this morning on US policy toward, and the debate on, Iran:

Three years ago former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger posed a key question: “[P]ressure – the attempt to induce a decision the other party had not chosen initially – is a necessary component of almost any negotiation… If sanctions cannot move […] Iran, then what can? How else can the permanent members of the Security Council […] prevail, except by making clear the consequences of intransigence?”

Kissinger’s question remains unanswered today. The situation inside Iran has offered the Obama administration a number of possible cards, which it has yet to play in an effort to expand policy options beyond a military strike. The current path of watered-down, or even “targeted”, sanctions is unlikely to succeed. So the question remains: What now? When will one be able to say that engagement has failed?