If You Factor Out 30 Years of Failure, Unilateral Iran Sanctions Work Great
Laura Rozen has a good post on some Harvard war games about new unilateral sanctions on Iran ultimately proving counterproductive to getting the Iranian regime to accept greater transparency on its nuclear program. You would think the war game would stop after someone said, “We’ve had unilateral economic sanctions on Iran for 30 years and it’s had absolutely no benefit for U.S. interests” and then everyone could break for lunch. But apparently not.
Still, the message of this war game seems to be to discourage the sorts of sanctions packages moving through Congress in favor of the Obama administration’s planned *multilateral *sanctions. Gary Sick, a Columbia professor and longtime Iran scholar, participated in the war game and said that the path to those multilateral sanctions is fraught with peril:
The US team went to work with a vengeance to get a consensus on sanctions. This didn’t bother the Iran team in the least. We didn’t think they could put together a package that would hurt us in any serious way, and that proved to be true. But more important, in the process they managed to offend all of their ostensible allies and wasted so much time and effort that Iran was better off at the end than they had been at the beginning. Since this represents a version of actual US strategy (and its results) over now three administrations, I think there is a lesson there that is ignored at our peril.