The U.N. Security Council, with President Obama acting as chairman, unanimously passed a resolution yesterday intended to bolster nuclear deterrents, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and lower the chances that civilian nuclear programs can be used for military purposes. The chief targets of the resolution are North Korea and Iran, although some Western leaders think the measure doesn’t go far enough. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy both urged the imposition of sanctions on Iran—a difficulty given that one of the long-standing opponents of sanctions is China, a permanent member on the Security Council.
Though it may only be a symbolic gesture coming from a forum not known for its sympathies with Zionism, the resolution does benefit Israel in implicitly censuring one of its most hostile neighbors, whose rulers have pledged to wipe Israel off the map. Another minor triumph for the Netanyahu government was Obama’s climb-down in rhetoric against settlement building—he spoke yesterday of the need to “restrain” it as opposed to “freeze” it, a word choice that has conservative pundits skeptical of Obama’s initial policy claiming, “I told you so.”