Archive for September 27th, 2009

Depends on the Definition of “Gains”

A few days ago, the New York Times was trumpeting President Obama’s “gains” at the UN concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

With a beaming Mr. Obama standing next to him, Mr. Medvedev signaled for the first time that Russia would be amenable to longstanding American requests to toughen sanctions against Iran significantly if, as expected, nuclear talks scheduled for next month failed to make progress.

Well.  That was then, this is now:

China will not support increased sanctions on Iran as a way to curb its nuclear program, a government spokeswoman said Thursday. Although China has generally opposed the use of sanctions, the announcement is sure to complicate President Obama’s efforts to impose tougher penalties on Iran, should international talks over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, scheduled for Oct. 1, fail to make headway.

Even if China had supported sanctions – and Obama may yet find concessions to bring them on board – there’s no particular reason to think Russia would abide by them.  It’s also perfectly reasonable to believe that Russia consulted with China prior to making its own announcement.  And the batting average of sanctions in getting countries to abandon nuclear programs is roughly .000, with Israel’s strike on Osirak (Iraq) and our invasion of Iraq (Libya), along with the Allied occupation of Berlin (Germany) being the only successes in that field I can recall.

As Powerline points out, some are arguing that it was the public revelation of Iran’s facility that moved Russia to reluctantly support sanctions, and if so, the President might have thought to present that information to them before handing them the diplomatic gift over missile defense.

So, according to the Times, “gains” means giving up tangible defenses obtained at a serious diplomatic price, abandoning allies who came through for us on those defenses, achieving the vague promise of weak sanctions at some point in the future, contingent on a lack of “progress” at talks that do nothing but give credibility to a monstrous regime that seeks to run out a clock we keep trying to reset.

Some gains.

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Notes From the Senate Race

A couple of notes on the race for the Republican nomination.  First of all, despite the headline – and the weight of the party’s senior ex-officeholders – former Lt. Gov. Norton did win the straw poll, but did not “clobber” her opponents.  Mrs. Norton will no doubt point out that she hadn’t had much time to organize for the straw poll, and yet still came out first.  Her opponents will note that this should have been, in many ways, her natural constituency, the old-line party activists, and that she got barely 1/3 of the vote.  So while her assumed fundraising prowess still makes her the odds-on favorite, it appears that this race has some room yet to run, and that she’ll have to earn it.

Evidence that she knows that came Thursday night at a meeting of the R Block Party, a group of mostly Arapahoe County- and Centennial-based activists.  While there was some grumbling that she didn’t stick around for questions, the mere fact that she showed up indicates that she understands she’ll have to court the new activists that last year’s elections generated, and can’t simply rely on the old guard to dominate the caucuses they way they have in the past.  (For the record, the only candidate for Senate or Governor who didn’t show up or send a representative was…Scott McInnis.)

For the moment, the favorite of the new activists still seems to be Ryan Frazier, who performed well at Wednesday’s Liberty on the Rocks South Metro, and seemed to have a lot of fans at the R Block Party as well.  Still, Norton’s bearing and presence seemed more senatorial; whether that bears up under tough questioning remains to be seen.

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