The Bankruptcy of Coercive Policies

If the last few years have shown us anything, it is the total bankruptcy of making maximalist demands while using economic coercion.

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NBC News reports on the bankrupt “Plan B” options being considered by the Biden administration if nuclear talks in Vienna aren’t successful:

As Iran and world powers prepare to resume negotiations next week on reviving a nuclear deal, the U.S. and its allies are already debating a list of “Plan B” options if the negotiations collapse, Western diplomats, former US officials and experts say.

With chances for a breakthrough at the talks in Vienna looking remote and Iran at odds with U.N. nuclear inspectors, US and European officials face a grim set of choices – from ramped-up sanctions to potential military action – as Iran’s nuclear program advances into dangerous territory.

These options are grim because they are also futile and destructive. We need to understand that piling on more sanctions or attacking Iran’s facilities will accomplish nothing except to kill more Iranians and convince their government that it needs a deterrent. The “Plan B” options being discussed are not serious options, because they stand no chance of preventing proliferation in Iran. Even if military action weren’t illegal aggression, it would still be folly. At best, these options would accelerate current trends in the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program, and at worst they would lead to regional war and proliferation. The only things that have won concessions from Iran are sanctions relief and compromise. Trying to increase pressure beyond “maximum pressure” means going in the wrong direction from where we need to go. This is a phenomenally stupid backup “plan,” and anyone advocating for any of these “grim choices” should be ignored.

Read the rest of the article at Eunomia

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.