Would anyone take Hillary Clinton seriously if she were not “risen to a height that few can scale by a set of curious chances” (apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan)? She had no real experience in foreign policy when she was named Secretary of State and has shown precious little ability to navigate effectively since that time. Her latest grand design being cited today in the media is to somehow punish the Iranian elites with sanctions without hurting the Iranian people. I am not sure exactly what she has in mind, but if she is thinking of blocking cognac supplies and porn movies, which angered the North Korean leadership, she might consider that a similar approach will not sway the Mullahs. If she is considering blocking bank accounts linked to the Pasdaran she might want to talk to people at Treasury because that is already being done.
Ultimately, Hillary will come down in favor of something stupid, like blocking fuel supplies, which will punish poorer Iranians disproportionately. I wouldn’t say that sanctions never work, but it is difficult to cite a situation in which they were very effective. Most often they just encourage a siege mentality for those who are on the receiving end and render any kind of negotiated agreement unlikely. Cuba would long ago have moved away from communism if it hadn’t been for sanctions. If Iran is truly intent on developing a nuclear weapon, sanctions will only accelerate that process.
What is really scary is that Hillary might be reflecting the thinking of her boss.