The reason aggressors think this way is obvious. As Demosthenes told the Athenians, “All words, apart from action, seem vain and idle.” So too today. The mullahs in Iran have carefully listened as Obama has pressured Israel not to take action, shifted the grounds for U.S. action, and demanded time for sanctions and negotiation “to work,” and they have made the correct calculation that such statements cancel out the rhetoric about “having Israel’s back” and acknowledging Israel’s right for taking unilateral action at the same time such action is discouraged and proclaimed to be futile. The mullahs further calculate that this administration, and the American people, do not have the stomach for an attack, and thus Iran can continue to work toward creating nuclear weapons, as long as they provide a diplomatic fig leaf for Western leaders to hide their weakness.
Worse yet, even if the negotiations achieve their aim, which is to allow inspectors to monitor Iran’s suspension of uranium enrichment, the problem won’t be solved. As John Bolton pointed out three years ago, “Any resolution that leaves Iran’s current regime with control over the entire nuclear fuel cycle is simply a face-saving way of accepting” that Iran will possess nuclear weapons. “Given Iran’s fulsome 20-year history of denial and deception, there is simply no doubt that its efforts toward building nuclear weapons would continue.” Indeed, what makes us think that Iran will be any less adept at gaming inspections than was Saddam Hussein, who for years rope-a-doped the inspectors until he felt confident enough simply to kick them out of the country? Or North Korea, which wrote the playbook for deceiving gullible Westerners with “negotiations” and “talks” until it could present its nuclear bombs as a fait accompli?
And surely Iran must be heartened by the recent restart of “six-party talks” with North Korea, a patent ploy to acquire more food aid for feeding the regime’s army and cronies, as North Korea has done now for decades. The mullahs have to be laughing at comments like the following, from a German representative to the talks: “I can say that based on the amicable and candid interaction among the participants, the organizers believe that the conference achieved its final result of building trust despite remaining political differences.” Such myopic gullibility reminds me of Neville Chamberlain’s report to his cabinet during the Munich negotiations that Hitler “would not deliberately deceive a man whom he respected and with whom he had been in negotiation, and he was sure that Herr Hitler now felt some respect for him. When Herr Hitler announced that he meant to do something it was certain he would do it.” Indeed, but what Hitler had announced years earlier in Mein Kampf was the conquest of Europe and the solution to the “Jewish problem.”
And now another anti-Semitic aggressor is sitting down to talk with representatives of Western nations unwilling to take seriously the genocidal threats of a regime rushing to create the weapons that could make those threats reality. Instead, our highest military official calls the mullahs “rational,” and the president says they are “self-interested,” both dismissing the religious motives of a regime that for thirty years has made plain its world-historical mission to make Islam triumph over the infidels. So the Western negotiators gather once again to talk and talk and talk until they’ve talked Iran into the bomb.
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