Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Just weak

China Matters has a post up, and also an article in the Asia Times about the US's efforts to get China on board with new sanctions on Iran.

What strikes me is that the Obama administration is even less willing than Bush's to look for a quid pro quo with China. Arm sales to Taiwan and trade pressures applied before asking China to work against its own energy interests in the supposed name of nuclear non-proliferation can only heighten pressure on China to push back, at least in some way.

But apart from China, the really interesting part of CM's post is the supposition that the US will propose real changes to the NPT:
It is difficult to understand Israel’s high-profile involvement in the Iran sanctions negotiations unless Israel has come to an understanding with the United States concerning entry into the non-proliferation regime and has been charged with communicating assurances to the various skeptical nations that it is poised to become an NPT good citizen if the Iran problem is dealt with in a satisfactory way.
I seriously doubt that Israel has an intention of getting rid of their nukes, even if all Muslim nations do everything requested. But Obama is obviously willing to be led around by Israel as long as political pressure is not applied in the US.

Obama is a weak president, weak in policy terms in that he has been unable to set out any new direction from the disastrous policies of his predecessor, and even weaker politically because his lack of political courage is now known to his friends and foes alike. When dealing with such weakness, the obvious strategy for just about everyone is to temporize.


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