by Barry Rubin
In its own view, the Obama Administration has won a considerable foreign policy victory in the International Atomic Energy Agency vote to condemn
The key development is that only three countries—
But that's not true and thinking otherwise shows a real structural failure in how even supposed experts nowadays think about international affair. Voting for a resolution is a substitute for taking action, a fact that might prove to be the bane of the Obama Administration.
In addition, while the resolution is being touted as tough, it I based on an incontrovertible set of simple facts.
It's like passing a resolution to criticize, rather than arrest, someone you just saw pump a half-dozen bullets into a murder victim and then being pleased that it was nearly unanimous.
What's really significant is that it is now clear the
Iranian delegate Ali Asghar Soltanieh, in his response, told us everything we need to know about Tehran's position and future developments:
"Neither resolutions of the board of governors nor those of the United Nations Security Council...neither sanctions nor the threat of military attacks can interrupt peaceful nuclear activities in Iran, [not for] even a second."
I believe him, except for the "peaceful nuclear activities" part. But guess what? This supposedly tough resolution doesn't exactly contradict that point. It only expresses "serious concern" that
So that's it. In November 2009 the
What makes this important enough for you to be reading about at this moment is that it is a model for the kind of multilateral, soft diplomacy that is now in fashion. Indeed, the
At some point in the not-distant future, the idea is that President Obama will make one of those, "We interrupt this program to bring you a special message from the president of the
One is beginning to suspect that this moment will never come on any international issue.
As a British officer said after the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolution, one more victory like this and there may be no one left to report it. After a certain point, someone who believes that soft power is sufficient must be soft in the head.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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