For once, the Bush Administration (note: without Rumsfeld) may actually be doing something right. Sanctions, diplomatic pressure, and military pressure are all pushing the right buttons.

The push for sanctions at the U.N. shows that the world is united against Iran’s nuclear program. Of course the sanctions will never make life horrible, but will be an annoyance.

Militarily, things have gone well too. The United States has sent two aircraft carriers and is conducting war games in Iran’s backyard. The constant repetition of “no option can be taken off the table” will start to worry Iran eventually, if it isn’t already. Last month there was constant attention by the media and by blogs on the possibility of a war with Iran. That’s probably getting them a little freaked out too. But the most important thing is that the U.S. must NOT go to war with Iran. The results would be disastrous. Increased hatred by ordinary Arabs and Persians would lead to more terrorism. And the hatred wouldn’t just be from the Middle East; Europe wouldn’t be happy either. The British hostage problem has changed the situation slightly, but not enough to justify a war.

As middleXeast calls it, “coercive diplomacy” should be the Administration’s plan for dealing with Iran.

The United States must be prepared to take the lead and synthesizes these three options into a coercive diplomacy, in which the threat and use of force re treated as integral part to diplomatic bargaining.

If Iran is dealed with correctly, President Bush’s approval ratings could spike. But depending how it turns out, Bush might just be adding another F to his report card.

Simmons blogs at Thoughts on the World. Interested readers can e-mail him at

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