But Mrs. Clinton is the designated canary who brings the bad news. Or, rather, the good news... at least to the mullahs. She has now told everyone who will listen that the U.S. has no plans for a military strike against Iran. And, given the president's deeply ideological commitment to peaceful engagement with Tehran, there is no reason to doubt her. In fact, it is reasonable to deduce that no armed strike by America has even been laid out in the most theoretical manner. All this has done to Ahmadinejad's brain is encourage him to think nuclear weapons.
A day or two earlier, Clinton conceded that Iran has already turned the page from doctrinal tyranny to military dictatorship. Which, if she and Obama truly understood what she was saying, would have scared the b'Jesus out of them. A military dictatorship, particularly one led by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Basiji movement of gangsters (first written about in English in TNR by Matthias Kuntzel) akin to the Nazi SS, would not hesitate to carry out the atomic designs that have already gone so far that many responsible scientists are convinced that they are beyond the point of no return.
So we are back to sanctions again. Even Clinton grasps that moderately effective sanctions are a dubious proposition, having to win the approval of the Security Council. There, China simply won't permit any measure that would inconvenience the Iranians to pass. After all, the Council is governed by the one power which exercises a veto. And don't think that the Russians will cooperate so readily in a program that will burden the Persians either.