Tom Ricks dissects Romney’s recent Iran op-ed:

But the stupidest line in the article might be this one: “I will press for ever-tightening sanctions, acting with other countries if we can but alone if we must.” Dude, how are sanctions gonna work if we impose them alone? They won’t, so they must be imposed multilaterally. Which is what President Obama happens to be doing. I have to wonder who in the Romney campaign thought this article was a good idea.

It was probably the same person who thought denouncing a modest arms control treaty and showing off Romney’s misunderstanding of the relevant issues was a clever attack. I suspect it was also the same person who thought making foreign policy criticism one of the central themes of Romney’s presidential run was a bit of brilliant positioning instead of the sorry spectacle that it’s been. In other words, it was Mitt Romney’s idea.

The most punitive sanctions imposed on Iran to date have been almost entirely American and European, and the stricter the sanctions become the less international support there is for them. The latest sanctions are bound to be ineffective because there are too many states with significant economic ties to Iran that refuse to go along with the oil embargo and sanctions on Iran’s central bank. Romney’s statement about sanctions is embarrassing for him, but the lack of cooperation the U.S. has received from India, Turkey, Russia, and China, among others, is a reminder that there are limits to what we should expect from all those governments that don’t perceive Iran’s nuclear program to be nearly as important as our government does.