Neo-conservative hawks are apoplectic over the Iran nuclear deal. Even some pro-Israel Democrats like Sen. Chuck
Schumer are piling on. But setting aside the normative questions about economic sanctions and military strikes, the only other alternatives, how practical are these options?
Not very, I note in my column at The Weekthis morning.
Sanctions have inflicted a heavy punishment—not on Iran's mullahs who look just as fat and prosperous as ever – but on ordinary Iranians. They boycotted Iranian oil and restricted Iran's access to refined oil. The latter was a big problem because Iran does not have enough refinery capacity to meet its energy needs. They also barred international banks from doing business with Iran, producing a near-collapse of its currency. The upshot has been a multi-year recession, inflation and shortages. It was no surprise, therefore, that the Iranian street broke out into celebrations at the slightest hint that a deal lifting the sanctions might be imminent – which is why it'll be too bad if their own leaders fuck things up by making demands that'll never fly. President Rouhani's ill-advised harrumphing yesterday that he won't sign any deal that doesn't instantly lift all the sanctions, is a case in point.
That said, the sanctions haven't been costless for the countries imposing them either, especially Russia and China. Hence they (meaning sanctions, not Russia and China) are not long for the world, regardless of whether America signs or walk's away from the deal. But if it walks away, I note, "Iran will slowly resume normal trade ties with much of the world — but without having to accept any curbs on its nuclear program."
And what about military strikes? They could backfire big time too.
Go here to find out why and how.