What happened
The Bush adminstration is launching new unilateral sanctions against Iran. The new policy includes the unprecedented step of naming Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction, and the elite Quds Forces as a supporter of terrorism.

What the commentators said
Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been making increasingly loud “public warnings” against Iran to stop enriching uranium, said The Boston Globe in an editorial (free registration). Bush even warned world leaders last week that stopping Iran’s nuclear program was necessary to prevent “World War III.” There could “hardly be a worse time” for these “unsubtle threats.” If diplomacy is to stand a chance, the White House will have to stop acting like it’s preparing to launch “an attack on Iran.”

Liberals think the warmongering of Bush and Cheney is criminal, said Rosa Brooks in the Los Angeles Times (free registration). They’re wrong—it’s a sign that they are “psychotics who need treatment.” They’re in the middle of “a disastrous war in Iraq,” with the situation deteriorating in Afghanistan, and controversy over harsh interrogation tactics fueling extremist movements everywhere. And they want more? “They’ve clearly gone mad.”

The folks on the left “belittle” the warnings from Bush and Cheney, said syndicated columnist Victor Davis Hanson in the San Jose Mercury News, but the sad thing is that they are not alone. Iran’s oil-rich neighbors, and even Russia, are only too happy to let the U.S. worry about Tehran as they reap higher oil prices thanks to the turmoil around the Persian Gulf. And most European leaders are confident they can buy off the Tehran’s clerics to avert disaster. The world could rein in Iran, if somebody other than Bush and Cheney thought it was worth the “effort and cost.”