Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Iran's nuclear marathon...

Iran's nuclear marathon...  Bret Stephens, writing at the Wall Street Journal, on why the French had to be the adults at the bargaining table with Iran (an excerpt):
... But it's mainly an example of failing up—the Washingtonian phenomenon of promotion to ever-higher positions of authority and prestige irrespective of past performance.

This administration in particular is stuffed with fail-uppers—the president, the vice president, the secretary of state and the national security adviser, to name a few—and every now and then it shows. Like, for instance, when people for whom the test of real-world results has never meant very much meet people for whom that test means everything.

That's my read on last weekend's scuttled effort in Geneva to strike a nuclear bargain with Iran. The talks unexpectedly fell apart at the last minute when French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius publicly objected to what he called a "sucker's deal," meaning the U.S. was prepared to begin lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for tentative Iranian promises that they would slow their multiple nuclear programs.

Not stop or suspend them, mind you, much less dismantle them, but merely reduce their pace from run to jog when they're on Mile 23 of their nuclear marathon. It says something about the administration that they so wanted a deal that they would have been prepared to take this one. This is how people for whom consequences are abstractions operate. It's what happens when the line between politics as a game of perception and policy as the pursuit of national objectives dissolves.

The French are not such people, believe it or not, at least when it comes to foreign policy. ...
2016 sure seems like a long way away, doesn't it?

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