The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Diplomacy Based on Dreams

For the past few years, Barack Obama and his bumbling Secretary of State, John Kerry, have been negotiating with Iran to eliminate their effort to built a nuclear weapon. The deadline for those talks is up in two weeks. Sanctions, we're told, have forced Iran to make concessions, and a good deal can be had.

Excuse me if I'm cynical. Barack Obama has had so many serious foreign policy failures that he is the one that is ripe for a deal—any deal that can be spun to make it look that something important has been accomplished. If a deal is reached (I'm skeptical) it will be "good" for only one party and that will be Iran.

Andrew Bostom comments:
Indeed, reports surfaced this past week that President Obama himself has made direct, supplicating overtures to Iran’s head Shiite theocrat, Ayatollah Khamenei, linking U.S.-Iranian “cooperation” in fighting the Islamic State Sunni jihadists, to reaching a final nuclear agreement November 24, per the so-called “P5 +1” (= the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, i.e., the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) negotiations process. At a post-midterm elections press conference, 11/5/14, Mr. Obama openly expressed his endorsement of the apparently forthcoming nuclear deal with Iran:
I think that we’ll be able to make a strong argument to Congress that this is the best way for us to avoid a nuclear Iran, that it will be more effective than any other alternatives we might take, including military action.
Pace Mr. Obama’s and his advisers’ “arguments”—a toxic brew of willful, dangerous delusion, ignorance, and cynicism—the diplomatic processes they are aggressively pursuing will inevitably yield an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Thus within two days of the U.S. President’s latest roseate pronouncement, a tocsin of looming calamity was sounded in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released Friday, 11/7/14.

Even the centerpiece of touted P5 +1 negotiations’ “success,” curtailment of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was questioned by the IAEA, which noted the Islamic Republic was continuing activities “which are in contravention of its obligation to suspend all enrichment-related activities.” The IAEA report further observed that contrary to its relevant commitments, “Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects.” Most ominously, the IAEA report highlighted Iran’s failure to cooperate and resolve “outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” Specifically, the IAEA expressed its remaining concern,
about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.
But no matter. Obama needs a deal, and it's relatively easy to craft one that looks like it has bite, but in fact, purposely obscures loopholes in a blizzard of technical detail. Bret Stevens suggests that any deal that is crafted will be very complex with "a hundred moving parts." He then writes:
As for Iran, a deal with one hundred moving parts also serves it well. “The Iranians will cheat the way they always cheat, which is incrementally, not dramatically,” notes sanctions expert Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Sooner or later, we’ll spot a potential violation and get into a debate about forensics: Are the Iranians complying or not? This will eat up time before we even get to the political debate over what to do about it.”

That’s been the Iranian M.O. ever since their covert nuclear program was first exposed in 2002. We’ve been negotiating their noncompliance ever since. Why should a regime that has paid no price for dishonesty suddenly discover the virtues of honesty in a post-deal world?

Supporters of a deal offer three answers. One is that the sanctions relief the West will offer in the deal can always be reversed in the event Iran cheats. “We can crank that dial back up,” as Mr. Obama said about sanctions last year. They also argue that what Iran seeks is to become, in the Bismarckian sense, a “satisfied power,” one that achieves its goals of diplomatic normalization, economic prosperity and nuclear pride—but also knows its limits.

Finally, as the Economist magazine argued in a recent editorial, time is on the West’s side. Think of China in the early 1970s: Sooner or later, Khamenei, like Mao, will die; sooner or later, public thirst for modernization, led by a Deng Xiaoping -type figure such as Hasan Rouhani, will steer Tehran to a better path.

Maybe so: Dreams sometimes come true. But diplomacy based on dreams usually fails. Iran, under its moderate leadership, executes one person roughly every seven hours. It boasts broad sway over four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and, most recently, Sanaa, in Yemen. The President of the Great Satan is all but begging for a nuclear deal. European companies are already salivating at the thought of a piece of the post-sanctions Iranian economy. Try dialing that back.

As for the opposition once known as the Green Revolution, when did you last hear from it?

The Obama administration likes to make much of the notion that Iran, starved by sanctions, is like a beggar at a banquet. If so, this beggar doesn’t settle for scraps. If Iran says no to a deal, Mr. Kerry will soon be back with a better offer. If it says yes, it will take what it’s given and, in good time, take some more.

Al Qaeda on a “path to defeat.” America “out of Iraq.” It won’t be long before a nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Mr. Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements.
"Diplomacy based on dreams." That has been the consistent M.O. of the Obama administration since 2008. Recent history indicates that it hasn't worked out very well, has it?

UPDATE (11/12/14):
Yahoo News Reports:
NEW YORK/ANKARA (Reuters) - Despite nearly a year of negotiations, Iran and six major powers are unlikely to meet a Nov. 24 deadline to reach a final deal to lift international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, officials say.
Western and Iranian officials told Reuters the two sides would probably settle for another interim agreement that builds on the limited sanctions relief agreed a year ago as they hammer away at their deep disagreements in the coming months.
"We could see the outline of a final deal emerging by Nov. 24 but probably not the deal itself," a Western official said.
This is sooo Iran. Making cheap statements about "progress" and chipping away at sanctions while nothing is settled and nothing really punitive is done.  At the same time Iran works secretly behind the scenes to get to the threshold of nuclear weapons. All the while, Obama's Team of 2s keeps at it in the hope that this ugly, repressive, violent, misogynistic, homophobic, undemocratic, terror-sponsoring "Islamic Republic" (a phrase Barack Obama often uses in describing Iran) will see the light. As we used to say on the streets of my hometown: N.F.L.

How about tightening sanctions and adding still more because no agreement was reached? I thought that was Obama's implicit threat—an implicit red line. Oops, forgot. Barack Obama is very good at saying things he has no intention whatsoever of acting on. Red line? Yeah, right.

Iran will be allowed to move to the threshold of a nuclear weapon, and the world will be a much more dangerous place.