The Hill reports:
Lawmakers grew increasingly frustrated with the Obama administration on Tuesday as a State Department official refused to endorse a new package of sanctions on Iran that is expected to speed through Congress this year. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told the Senate Banking Committee the administration is reserving judgment for now on the new sanctions being considered by senators. That led to some consternation among the panel’s members, including prominent Democrats.
This is mind-boggling, even for this administration. Even the most cynical conservatives can sympathize just a bit with the frustrated Democrats. Doesn’t Obama want the leverage? Doesn’t he want to have sanctions at the ready when the talk-a-thon ends? (It will end, right?)
The answer to all of these queries is “no,” it seems. Steinberg said the administration didn’t ask for sanctions, and he gave every indication that the president isn’t particularly happy to include a stick with his carrots. It will just give the Iranians the excuse to claim we are being hostile, Steinberg explained with a straight face. (Yes, and imagine how upset they’ll be if we ever insist on a deadline on talks.) Now you can’t have sanctions if you’re afraid that passing the sanctions will make the other side “mad.” So you see where this is going — nowhere.
Democrats not known to be part of the conservative cabal are mighty nervous with the administration’s pathetic behavior:
“I find it troubling that the administration is not looking to support the toughest sanctions possible,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).“You don’t want Congress to pursue the legislation, but you don’t give us a verifiable timeframe. That makes us very uneasy,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). “Regardless of what is said, we need real action.”
Troubled and uneasy, are they? Well, it’s about time that Democrats realized what the game is here — do nothing and then accept the inevitability of a nuclear-armed Iran. We wouldn’t want to try to stop them or anything. It could be taken as a sign of “U.S. hostility.”