This week I have a piece on the web site of the Center for Security Policy detailing former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams' views on President Obama's chances of effectively employing sanctions to squeeze Iran's leadership as well as his take on possibilities if sanctions fail.
It was interesting to hear Abrams, one of President Bush's right hand men, say President Obama may have a better chance of making sanctions work, in part due to circumstance: Abrams pointed out that oil prices during the Bush years mitigated the sanctions' effect. However, President Obama may be better positioned to make sanctions against the government of Iran punishing and effective because, given the precipitous drop in oil prices, the money Iran rakes in cannot go as far these days in mitigating the sanctions' effect as it could during the Bush years. Abrams also seems to think our current President may have a better shot than President Bush did at bringing Russia and China on board.
The threat of a mad religious theocracy like the government of Iran becoming a nuclear power is far too serious an issue to allow partisan sentiment to cloud judgment. Not only has Iran's government declared a genocidal threat against Israel, but its obtaining a nuclear weapon would probably set off a nuclear arms race in a the Mideast and increase the likelihood of terrorists obtaining a nuclear weapons by five or ten times, in Abrams' analysis.
Let's hope Abrams is correct and President Obama's chances of preventing such a catastrophic scenario are better than President Bush's were. And let's support President Obama in using every advantage he may have - including his international popularity - in garnering support from other countries to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.