Paul Greenberg

Everything was all set. The scenery had been painted, the lighting arranged, the actors given their lines and put through their paces. The proper air of suspense had been maintained throughout the opening acts, and now the curtain was about to rise on the grand finale. The management wasn't quite ready to admit it, maybe even to itself, but the Happy Ending had already been written. All the players had to do was follow the script.

The stars were already practicing their bows. The supporting cast of foreign ministers from far and wide -- Teheran to Paris, Moscow even unto Beijing -- was in the wings and ready to go on with the show. One by one they had arrived at the Geneva Cabaret to take their places backstage. And what an assemblage they were: the representatives of six world powers -- the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China (the one on the mainland). Plus one more country that very much wanted to be a world power: Iran. Then it would be camera, lights, action!

It promised to be the diplomatic blockbuster of the year, maybe the century. The most convincing performance since the one at Munich in 1938, the one that had assured Peace in Our Time, or so the rave reviews had declared.

Now, in Geneva, the curtain was about to go up on the Signature Accomplishment of this president's foreign policy: an end to Iran's plans for a nuclear weapon. It would be a fitting match for his Signature Accomplishment in domestic policy, the one that bears his name even if he might wish it didn't: Obamacare.

The big show in Geneva was all a sham, of course. But the suspense had to be maintained. Nobody in the administration was allowed to reveal the ending, at least not on the record.

The script doctors at the White House had faced a hard choice: Either keep Iran from developing a Bomb of its own or settle for containing that fanatical regime after it had one. By now it was clear that the choice had been made, no matter how many times this administration denied it: Teheran would be allowed to have its Bomb and Washington would worry about how to contain a nuclearized Iran later. Good luck.

It was all there in the script: Iran would publicly (if only publicly) forsake its plan to join the world's Nuclear Club, and in turn the West, with the eager support of the Russians and Chinese, would back off its economic sanctions against that country just as those sanctions were having their desired effect.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.