In yet another demonstration of the (in)effectiveness of the Obama Administration’s quixotic quest to get China on board for what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used to call “crippling sanctions,” the Chinese foreign ministry announced that Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei, who has been representing Beijing at meetings of the P5+1 political directors regarding Iran, will not be attending the next meeting, which will be held on Saturday in New York. The Chinese Foreign Minsitry says that the Vice Minister “will not be able to attend because of scheduling issues.” This was the same reason provided for his unavailability for last month’s P5+1 political directors meeting.
The Obama Administration’s continued pursuit of what it must know will be a failed effort to win UN Security Council authorization for effective sanctions against Iran will only provide ammunition for those who want to push the United States into a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Having “failed” at (half-hearted) engagement, the Obama Administration’s looming failure on sanctions will leave many foreign policy elites arguing (and much of the American public thinking) that the United States has no option left to stop Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon except military force. As we have written and said many times before, such an outcome would be tragic for all involved and profoundly counter-productive for American interests.
This article was first published by The Race for Iran on 14 January 2010.