Once again, the Obama administration's diplomatic multilateralism has produced a time-buying victory for Iran in its unilateral pursuit of nuclear weapons. This means the world is measurably closer to the day Tehran obtains a deployable nuke.
Remember "smart diplomacy," Barack Obama's 2008 campaign tout, the nifty sound-bite the lapdog media loved? The latest diplomatic fracas surrounding Turkey and Brazil's negotiating initiative with Iran certainly isn't "smart," unless you're a punster alluding to the smarting pain of a hard rap on the wrist.
Nukes in the ayatollahs' arsenal, however, are more than a slap at President Obama's Ivy League ego. They are an intercontinental disaster, militarily, diplomatically and -- if you happen to be Israel, Iraq, a Persian Gulf emirate or Europe -- existentially.
Oh, a bevy of well-spoken toffs will deny that, but these striped-pants squeaks have a historical record. In 1938, Britain's Neville Chamberlain, a nattily dressed chap, brought a scrap of paper back from Munich that promised "peace in our time." Adolf Hitler had assured Neville peace would reign after the West gave him Czechoslovakia.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, is assuring us of administration success. This Tuesday she told the Senate -- in a rather Chamberlainesque triumphal tone -- that in the aftermath of the slippery Turkish-Brazilian agreement "Russia, China, the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany ... are proceeding to rally the international community on behalf of a strong (U.N.) sanctions resolution that will ... send an unmistakable message about what is expected from Iran."
Yeah. Rally on, international community. Unmistakable this time. Harsh, effective, game-changing sanctions are at hand. All but at hand. Coming soon to Planet Earth ...
Is the would-be watershed agreement Clinton extolled a seamless, nuke-stopping embargo? That may depend on how you read the words of China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Yang said he found the Iranian nuclear material swap arrangement negotiated by Turkey and Brazil to be encouraging. The Chinese diplomat backs Clinton's Senate certainty with murky tea leaves that could signal China believes yet another diplomatic option exists for Iran.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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