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These Sanctions Are Neither 'Crippling' nor 'Biting.' They Are Feeble and Flaccid, Truly Obama's Sanctions

It used to be that the president sent out Ms. Clinton to do the retreat on Iran, and she's been doing it for about 17 months. Pathetically, actually, and with some embarrassment on her face. Now it's Susan Rice's turn. It's only fair. For our U.N. ambassador actually believes that the processes of the organization are more important than the results. So it was given to Ms. Rice to explain and explain away why the sanctions agreed upon by the five permanent members of the Council plus Germany omitted and efforts "that would stop the flow of oil out of Iranian ports, or gasoline into the country."

This last quote comes from an absolutely clarifying New York Times news article by David E. Sanger and Mark Landler.  Basically it says that nothing will happen. This is, as the dispatch says, "the fourth round of sanctions against Iran."  But there is only one truly fresh provision.  

The newest element of the sanctions would require countries to inspect ships or aircraft headed into or out of Iran if there are suspicions that banned materials are aboard.  But as in the case of North Korea, there is no authorization to board these ships forcibly at sea, a step officials from many countries could start a firefight, and perhaps touch off a larger confrontation.

This is an ideal Ricean solution. You state a goal but provide no means at all to achieve it.

Still, the formalities of United Nations diplomacy were always cosseted for fear that otherwise the big powers might resort to force. Which they sometimes did. But now the Brazilians, who have a seat on the Security Council, and the Turks, about whom I posted in the wee hours of the morning and who have become very reckless, have set themselves against the habits of international diplomacy and challenged the Big Five who have not really challenged them.

This will only encourage Tehran to be more and more truculent in its nuclear pursuits. This faces the United States and the West with the option of force. Or Israel with the imperative of force.