What does the West expect from negotiations with Iran and North Korea about their nuclear programs? Does anyone seriously believe North Korea will surrender all its fissile material and honestly refrain from the clandestine transfer of nuclear technology? Does anyone expect Iran to abandon its ambitions of Middle East dominance which cannot be realized without nuclear capability?

China is somewhat active about the North Korean nuclear program which threatens Chinese regional hegemony. Russia and China lack truly global interests and do not feel threatened by the Iranian nuclear development. Russia and China, pushed out of the major Muslim markets, bet their Middle East influence on Iran. Russia tried that policy in Iraq shortly before the US invaded. The Russians supplied Iraq with weapons and protected it in the UN. In return, they entered the Iraqi political focus and received oil concessions.

The Chinese excuses for not acting against Iran are that its nuclear program is ostensibly peaceful and that Iran is a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty member. No reasonable country would announce that it is developing nuclear weapons illegally; peaceful intentions are the standard ruse. NPT membership is irrelevant: non-members have developed nuclear weapons, and members like China have transferred nuclear technology to others.

The Russian position on Iran is even emptier: the Russians declared it wrong to call Iran to negations on one hand and to impose sanctions on the other. How about the stick and carrot doctrine? Hadn’t the similar approach just been applied to North Korea? Didn’t the Russians destroy Chechnya before negotiating with it?

Why would Russia and China oppose sanctions against Iran? They won’t oppose any against, say, Djibouti. Their protection of Iran is mercenary, and the West should not bow down to it.