The Obama administration heralded Wednesday's United Nations Security Council's vote to impose tougher weapons sanctions on Iran as a victory for American interests. Persuading Russia and China's to support the sanctions, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, proved that America is serious about diplomatic solutions, adding that sanctions could "slow down and interfere" with Iran's nuclear ambitions. Unfortunately, says Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post, the 12 to 2 vote (with Brazil and Turkey voting "no") also "poses a conundrum: How could an administration that first tried reaching out to Iran and then spent months working with its allies end up with less international unity than when George W. Bush was president?" Here, an excerpt
"Bush refused to engage with Iran, his administration often was perceived as acting unilaterally in international affairs, and one of his U.N. ambassadors was John R. Bolton, who once famously said he wanted to eliminate 10 stories of the U.N. headquarters. But not a single Security Council resolution on Iran that passed on Bush's watch contained a dissenting vote.
"By contrast, President Obama had argued that engagement from the start would persuade Iran to negotiate seriously and if that did not happen, would demonstrate that Tehran was the problem, not Washington. Yet Turkey, a NATO ally, and Brazil, a major regional power, voted against Wednesday's resolution. Lebanon, a beneficiary of U.S. aid, abstained.