Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
It is quite possible that no matter how many concessions Obama makes, there will never be a final agreement with Iran. The deadlines have already been extended so many times that the only reliable thing about the negotiations is that somewhere near the edge, the negotiators will declare that they are close and extend the formerly final deadline some more. And then some more again.
There is currently disagreement over the last agreement that was agreed to in order to extend the deadline. If you find that confusing, so does everyone else.
According to the British Foreign Minister, “There are a number of different areas where we still have major differences of interpretation in detailing what was agreed in Lausanne.”
We are no longer negotiating the issue; instead we’re negotiating the negotiations. The last attempt at getting the PLO to negotiate with Israel collapsed at the negotiating the negotiations stage when the Israeli pre-negotiation appeasement was deemed insufficiently appeasing by the PLO and John Kerry.
Obama will have to offer the Iranians even more concessions, on and under the table, to get them to negotiate the negotiations. Iran’s past nuclear work won’t be looked at and now even nuclear inspections may be off the table. At this rate, we’ll soon be negotiating how many bombs Iran gets, how many bombs it gets to use and then how many countries it gets to nuke.
We’ve already gone from an agreement to shut down Iran’s nuclear program to an agreement to temporarily slow it down to a probable short term agreement with sanctions relief and no inspections. Obama has officially disavowed a military solution so the only thing for Iran to negotiate is how to extract the most sanctions relief without actually conceding anything that matters.
And each time it looks like there’s progress, the Supreme Leader winks and pulls the rug out from under Kerry. Everyone from the Viet Cong to the Sandinistas to Assad has learned how easy that is, so that the more we concede, the more Iran demands. The negotiations approach a finish line and then stall.
Or as an anonymous official put it, “It feels like we haven’t advanced on the technical issues and even gone back on some.”
But that’s typical for the Middle East where no agreement is final and negotiations are just a means of taking the temperature of the other side while keeping them off guard. Agreements are not solemn arrangements, they are a theatrical display. What we take absolutely seriously, they view as a farce.
The Iranian negotiations with an agreeable lackey who pulls back at the last minute and a dictator behind the scenes who denounces the whole thing are a repetition of the disastrous Israel-PLO peace process which have been going on and off for decades with no actual peace or even much of a process.
The only purpose of such negotiations is to extract concessions without actually giving anything in return. Countless preliminary agreements can be negotiated, but no final agreement comes into being. The entire process runs on misleading claims of success by Western negotiators. The terrorist leaders tell their own people that they are committed to destroying the infidels, but this is dismissed as “appeasing the hardliners” by our own negotiators who are desperately invested in their credibility.
The more Iran acts out, the more the negotiators are forced to misrepresent the scale of the disaster to keep the negotiations going. The Iranians lie to the negotiators. The negotiators lie to us. Then the Iranians recant the possible concessions that they dangled as bait in front of the negotiators and the negotiators tear out their hair and promise us that the whole thing will be settled with an extension.
Of course the only way that anything will actually be settled is with Iran getting nuclear weapons.
The negotiations are just tools for getting cash and wearing out the nerves and sanity of the West. After enough years of aimless negotiations, an actual Iranian nuke will seem like a relief. The warnings of Netanyahu and the Republicans will be ignored as the appeasers who promised that sanctions and then sanctions relief would stop Iran’s nuclear program, who assured us that Iran did not want weapons, will cross their hearts and swear that Iran won’t actually use the nukes they swore it would never get.
Obama’s rhetoric is already tipping in that direction. Iran is a rational actor, he insists. And of course it is. But what’s rational by the standards of a theocracy that believes it’s ushering in an age of supreme Shiite rule on earth may differ from the standards of reason for a progressive who believes he’s ushering in an age of supreme liberal rule on earth. And neither Obama nor the Supreme Leader are any good at tests of reason such as eschewing magical thinking and understanding that words mean something.
Iran’s apocalyptic theology and power games require nukes. Obama has chosen to ignore its missile program while pretending to believe that a country swimming in oil needs a civilian nuclear program.
And once he ignored those, it was easy not to sweat the small stuff.
Like the PLO, Iran has responded to the negotiations by escalating its violence, seizing parts of Yemen, attacking ships in international waters and becoming more blatant in its defiance of America. But that’s how dictators even outside the Middle East respond to appeasement. No regime that is built on force can possibly view a show of weakness as anything except an admission of enemy impotence.
Peace negotiations with terrorists are terrorism by another means. The negotiations are a confession of weakness that destabilizes the region. And even when they do succeed in their goal of splitting supposed moderates from hardliners, the hardliners tend to win out making everything even worse than it was before. But the moderates are usually just hardliners in suits with a college degree.
When Obama announced that there was no military solution to Iran’s nuclear program, he had stated out loud that he would not stop the program and that the negotiations were a face-saving measure. The admission came after Obama refused to stop Iranian attacks on Persian Gulf shipping.
Obama expects that Iran will oblige him with a meaningless agreement that he can show off to the cameras, but Iran’s leaders understand the theater of diplomacy better than he does. Their goal is to humiliate the United States so as to show their own dissidents and the region that America can’t protect them. And that is the real purpose of the prolonged and pointless negotiations.
It is quite possible that there will never be an agreement. That Iran will force Obama to make countless concessions, not only on the sanctions or on its nuclear program, but on its presence in Yemen and Iraq, as he already appears to have done, using the promise of a final agreement that will never come.
Obama’s desire for a deal has allowed Iran to roll him not only on sanctions and nukes, but on regional dominance. After all the prestige he has invested in the negotiations, he can’t allow them to collapse.
The negotiations will drag on endlessly until a nuclear bomb test is televised complete with chants of “Death to America”. And the appeasers who got us into this will assure us that they don’t really mean it.
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