There is a real sense in which US overconfidence is good for Iran. In 2006 or 2007, Iran would have accepted the deal the West put on the table, based on the hints that have emerged about the terms of discussion. The US would rather try sanctions than present an offer Iran will be willing to accept in 2010. That means we'll try this again in 2012 with a starting offer much more generous than what the West is willing to produce today.
TAPPER: You're talking about we're going to have a coalition that will do that. The President Obama set a deadline for President Ahmadinejad of Iran of the end of 2009. We're now about a quarter of the way through 2010, still no major international cooperation putting pressure on Iran. You know a little bit about Iranian culture. Don't you think that this in some ways conveys weakness or the inability to rally international support?There really are no signs of division in Iran on the nuclear issue, and the Mousavi's faction rather than being a formidable opposition, is closer to being discredited and in shambles leaving Ahmadinejad's faction of Iranian politics in firmer control of the country possibly than it's ever been.
JARRETT: Quite the contrary. In fact, over the last year, what we've seen, when the president came into office, there was a unified Iran. Now we're seeing a lot of divisions within the country, and we're seeing steady progress in terms of a world coalition that will put that pressure on Iran. So no, I think that we have a strong force in the making, and Iran will back down.
But if Obama's advisers are telling him that the current course is a good one for the US, I'm quite happy to have him getting that advice. This tendency to over-estimate the potency of limited sanctions is like new claims to adopt a strategy of "containment". It is a euphemism for doing nothing given that there are no effective measures that the US has as options for dealing with Iran's nuclear program.