The Obama administration has seen a frustrating lack of progress in diplomatic relations. After spending so much time bashing the Bush administration for failing to achieve unity in matters of great international importance, this administration is failing to realize the types of diplomatic gains they predicted.
Repeatedly, anything claimed as a success has involved movement on America's part, not on the part of a foreign power, be it friendly or hostile. From a lackluster climate
agreement to Iranian flouting of international pressure, President Obama's vaunted international prestige has proven itself no more than meaningless popularity.
The current iteration of America's disappointing negotiations involves China. Recently, American officials have indicated China might be open to placing new sanctions on Iran. As Iranian nuclear ambitions become increasingly obvious, this type of international pressure is necessary.
But in complete contradiction to American hopes and the Obama administration's claims, this week China renewed their opposition to sanctions on Iran. Chinese officials say they oppose Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, but they believe negotiations, not sanctions, are the correct approach. However, after years of negotiations, the situation with Iran has only worsened.
Moreover, in exchange for Iranian oil to fuel their growing economy, China has poured money and technology into Iran. This trade, as well as similar benefits from Russia, makes any sanctions placed on the country nearly worthless without the cooperation of all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
China is not the first country to back out of proposed sanctions. Just last week, the president of Russia told the world that there was only so far they would go with Iranian sanctions -- and it wasn't as far as American leaders has pushed, nor the victory they had claimed. Just Monday night, Secretary Clinton and leaders from China, Russia, France and the U.K. met again to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions. Given the extent of the threat posed by Iran, I can only hope this endeavor was more successful than past attempts.
We can not afford to step lightly on this issue. As president, my father knew how to confront international threats. He did not incite conflict, and he did not rampage against the rest of the world. But he made American intentions clear, and he did not back down.