I am looking at the Cox and Forkum cartoon which shows the international community as the three little pigs while the big bad wolf on the other side of the straw bales buisly builds a nuclear weapon. The straw bales are labeled 'Sanctions.'
How very apt. After the Shah was deposed and the American and British embassies seized by Iranian militants, sanctions were imposed on the Iranian regieme of Ayatollah Khommeni. Within several years, as President Reagan practiced real politics, Iran learned how weak sanctions can be as the US slipped it parts the country needed to fend off Saddam Hussein while naively hoping some Western hostages in Lebanon would be freed.
Then there is the more recent UN imposed sanctions on Iraq and the Oil for Food program. For twelve years while Saddam built his grandiose palaces and places like South Baghdad did without running water for eight years, countries and individuals turned blind eyes on where money that was supposed to help the Iraqi populace vanished into various bank accounts and gold plated faucets.
But lets not stop with only current events. Lets look back into World War II when President Roosevelt imposed a steel and oil embargo upon Japan in an attempt to make Japan give up its military adventurism. All it did was set the countdown clock for Pearl Harbor.
What all these events have in common is enemy miscalculation. All three regiemes did not think there would be grave consequences for their flaunting of international accord. For Iran, the Great Satan proved it could bend over backwards if only to stop a greater evil that also threatened Iran. For Saddam Hussein and Iraq, with France going on the record saying they would vote 'Non' on anything relating to Iraq in the UN; it was easy for that murdering thug to think he could keep shredding and killing his own people. And Japan figured if they could stall the American Pacific fleet long enough to snatch up the Asian possessions of occupied/distracted European nations to secure their economic security, then America would be willing to negotiate a new balance of power in the Pacific. At least with Japan and Iraq, history shows there were grave consequences for those disregarding the international community.
As Iranian machinations for nuclear weapons is being brought before the whole UN Security Council for a vote and there is renewed talk of sanctions, Iran is not waiting. They are moving their assets out of Western countries to make it harder for those same Western countries to seizing these assets. I think Fallon NAS still flies the 80th Iranian F-14 Tomcat that was still in the US when President Carter froze all of Iran's assets after the embassy seizure. And once again Iran is betting Europe, the IAEA, and the UN will blink and not do anything except give them a stern scolding. All the while more and more IAEA seals are being broken in Iran as they unshackel the nuclear genie. Time is running out to prevent a nuclear Pearl Harbor and sanctions, given past track record, will not work by themselves. There must be strong unanimous resolve backing these sanctions and a very real sabre for Iran to respect the wishes of the international community.