By degrees 0

In an impressive display of how to wield overwhelming power, the Obama administration has slowly and steadily softened its threat of sanctions against Iran for its persistence in developing an aggressive nuclear capability.

These are the administration’s six degrees of sanctions:

Sanctions that cripple

Sanctions that bite

Sanctions that pinch

Sanctions that tap

Sanctions that stroke

Sanctions that kiss

The only sort Obama will apply, if any at all, and if Iran lets him, are the last.

Post Script – news from Newsmax:

Legislation passed by Congress imposing harsh sanctions on Iran has languished for months without President Barack Obama’s signature as the Islamic Republic moves forward with its nuclear program.

In December, the House passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act by a 412-12 vote. The bill would increase the White House’s power to sanction any company or individual aiding Iran in importing gasoline or refining petroleum.

Iran must import up to 40 percent of its gasoline due to a lack of refining capacity.

The Senate passed a similar bill by a unanimous voice vote in January.

Citing Iran’s human rights abuses, funding of terrorists and pursuit of its nuclear program, Sen. Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said: “With passage of this bill, we make it clear that there will be appropriate consequences if these actions continue.” …

All that remained was for the Democratic leadership to reconcile slight differences in the House and Senate bills.

Instead, they have “bottled up the measure and refused to allow a blending of the bills,” Michael M. Rosen, a Republican activist and attorney in San Diego, writes in the Jerusalem Post.

“Why? Because the Obama administration asked them to.”

Posted under Commentary, Humor, Iran, satire, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 28, 2010

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The China shop 1

The alarming fact exposed in this Investors’ Business Daily editorial is that China is actively assisting Iran to make nuclear weapons.

What it also reveals is that Taiwan, supposedly in perpetual fear of being swallowed by China, is actually proving highly useful to it. If the Taiwanese have calculated that being so is a surer way for it to protect its independence than by relying on American guarantees, they may be right. But are they in danger of alienating  the US  by indirectly helping Iran achieve nuclear war capability?  The US could order them to stop. But how likely is the Obama administration to do that? The only country Obama is willing and eager to bully is Israel. Taiwan can see the odds are in its favor and boldly take the risk.

For a while, China was selling the international community the line that there should be no sanctions on Tehran without the “consensus” of the global community. …

But the mask is off now: It turns out China has been helping the other side all along, not just by roadblocking U.N. efforts to stop Iran from destabilizing its region, but doing so at a profit.

In 2008, an unnamed Chinese company, probably with ties to the communist government, commissioned Heli-Ocean Technology of Taiwan to ship 108 pressure transducers to someone in Tehran. The Taiwanese firm went along and shipped the sensitive devices in violation of U.N. sanctions. The instruments convert pressure to analog electrical signals, and can produce the precise measurements necessary to produce weapons-grade uranium.

Iran has been trying to get these devices for years, according to the Associated Press, and so far every effort had been thwarted by international controls. It took China to breach the system and now Iran’s much further along in developing a nuclear weapon.

China’s act blatantly violates U.N. sanctions on Iran as well as bans set by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an international organization charged with controlling the export of nuclear materials. It shows just how duplicitous China is on Iran and highlights the growing need for a harder response from the West.

China has access to the best in Western nuclear equipment through Taiwan and ought to see some punishment for its profiteering. If the [US] administration can issue sanctions on cheap Chinese tires, it certainly can issue new restrictions on the kinds of equipment China has access to. Should Beijing be unable to keep its word on U.N. sanctions, it should be treated as harshly as Iran.

How harshly is that?

And isn’t the US deeply in debt to China?

And – the biggest question – why does China want Iran to be a nuclear power?  (Bet you Hillary Clinton couldn’t answer that one.)

Posted under China, Commentary, communism, Defense, Diplomacy, Economics, Iran, Israel, Muslims, United Nations by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 9, 2010

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Just as the Russians like it 0

Here’s how Charles Krauthammer ends his delectable must-read article on the continuing failure of Obama and his Secretary of State to achieve anything good for America with their ‘smart power’:

Didn’t Obama say in July that Iran had to show compliance by the G-20 summit in late September? And when that deadline passed, did he not then warn Iran that it would face “sanctions that have bite” and that it would have to take “a new course or face consequences”?

Gone with the wind. It’s the U.S. that’s now retreating from its already flimsy position of just three weeks ago. We’re not doing sanctions now, you see. We’re back to engagement. Just as the Russians suggest.

Henry Kissinger once said that the main job of Anatoly Dobrynin, the perennial Soviet ambassador to Washington, was to tell the Kremlin leadership that whenever they received a proposal from the United States that appeared disadvantageous to the United States, not to assume it was a trick.

No need for a Dobrynin today. The Russian leadership, hardly believing its luck, needs no interpreter to understand that when the Obama team clownishly rushes in bearing gifts and “reset” buttons, there is nothing ulterior, diabolical, clever or even serious behind it. It is amateurishness, wrapped in naivete, inside credulity. In short, the very stuff of Nobels.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Diplomacy, Iran, Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 17, 2009

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American tax-payers strengthen Iran 0

 Robert Spencer writes:

An Iranian newspaper has reported that four American banks have issued formal requests to the Central Bank of Iran to open branches in Iran. Citibank, Goldman Sachs and two others left unnamed plan, according to the report, to establish temporary branches in an Iranian free trade zone if their requests are approved. The newspaper Jaam-e-Jam quoted an unnamed source explaining: “If they can work according to Iran’s banking law, they will be allowed to open branches in Tehran and other cities.”

Is this where the bailout money is going? 

It is curious that American banks – which probably wouldn’t still be in business but for the taxpayers’ largesse – would want to do business in a country where the government holds military parades featuring banners proclaiming “Death to America” and whose President has declared: “I say accomplishment of a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible.” 

It is just as ominous in the long term that the banks would apparently be willing to “work according to Iran’s banking law.” So in other words, Western banks operating in Islamic countries have to abide by Sharia Finance restrictions. And meanwhile, Western banks operating in Western countries likewise are increasingly accommodating Sharia Finance restrictions.

This is yet another manifestation of a stealth jihad phenomenon that is manifesting itself today in many areas besides finance: in Muslim countries, Muslims demand that Westerners conform to Islamic sensibilities, and likewise in Western countries, Muslims demand that Westerners conform to Islamic sensibilities…  

The most notorious example of accommodation to Islam is the increasing popularity of Sharia Finance, which Western banking institutions are rushing to offer to Muslims in the West even more quickly than they are rushing to open branches in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

There is, after all, so very much money to be made. Najib Fayyad of Unicorn Capital Turkey explains: “There are Islamic finance institutions operating in over 75 countries and with assets estimated at around US$700 billion, a figure which is growing at a rate of about 15% a year.” Some of the West’s leading financial institutions, including (besides Citibank and Goldman Sachs) Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Dow Jones, HSBC Bank, Lloyd’s, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Standard & Poors, have created “Sharia Advisory Boards,” staffed with Islamic clerics and scholars, in order to help them bring their financial practices into line with Islamic norms.

A benign exercise in multiculturalism? Not quite. Christopher Holton, Vice President of the Center for Security Policy, states that “America is losing the financial war on terror because Wall Street is embracing a subversive enemy ideology on one hand and providing corporate life support to state sponsors of terrorism on the other hand.” …

What’s more, Sharia Finance is another tool of Islamic separatism: instead of assimilating into American society, Muslims are demanding, and receiving, parallel financial institutions that reinforce the idea that they are unique, not subject to the laws and norms to which the rest of us are subject – a privileged class. At the same time, Sharia Finance initiatives are giving Islamic interests increasing control over Western economic life… 

The multiculturalist anxiety to accommodate Muslim principles and practices only makes Westerners even more vulnerable. Yet instead of engaging in careful strategic planning of both domestic and international initiatives, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and two other American financial institutions are working on opening branches in a country that has considered itself at war with the United States for thirty years. 

It is a test of Congressional resolve to regulate financial institutions. Will they allow the banks which American money has just saved to establish branches in a state sponsor of terrorism? 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 23, 2009

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