HERBERT LONDON/Negotiating With Iran


Negotiating With Iran
by HERBERT LONDON/ October 27, 2014
Family Security Matters

It is something of an old saw to contend that if a woman says “no,” she means “maybe.” If she says “maybe” she means “yes,” but if she says “yes” she is not a “lady.” Similarly if a man says “yes,” he means “maybe,” if he says “maybe” he means “no,” but if says “no,” he could not possibly be a negotiator in Vienna for the Obama administration.
So keen is President Obama on a deal with Iran, he cannot say “no.” The fact that zero tolerance for an Iran with nuclear weapons is no longer a negotiating point is telling. The fact that Iran’s missile force site is not on the agenda suggests yet another concession. The fact that the U.S. has already conceded the existence of at least 1500 centrifuges enriching uranium indicates U.S. “flexibility.” And the fact the plutonium facility is not a discussable item suggests preemptive acceptance of the Iranian position.
After one failure on the foreign policy front after another, Obama needs a victory or, more accurately, the appearance of victory. He is likely to get one and only one concession from the Iranian negotiating team: It will pledge not to weaponize its missiles. The translation is that Iran will have the fissile capability to build nuclear weapons and a delivery force with the Shahab 3 and the Kavoshgar 3 rocket used as a space launch. But it will say the two are not to be united. Of course, no one, but Obama will take this claim seriously.
Nevertheless President Obama amid some media fanfare will argue that through the negotiating skill of his team, he has achieved an understanding with Iran that will avert hostility with this once adversarial nation.
Iran’s president Ruhani will merely shake hands with Secretary Kerry for a photo op. and go on his merry way knowing that he duped the feckless Obama representatives into a deal that will give Iran enormous leverage in pursuing its dominant long term regional goal.
Recognizing the flaws in the agreement, senators on both sides of the aisle will object to being left out of the negotiations. Some will even cite a Constitutional provision that maintains the Senate must ratify treaties, but Obama will argue deceitfully that this deal isn’t a treaty, but merely an understanding or accord.
The Israeli president and representatives will balk contending that this agreement sets the stage for a second Holocaust. Not only has Iran pledged to wipe Israel off the map; it will have the means to do so. Secretary Kerry will be dispatched to Tel Aviv to assure Israeli leaders deterrence will work. No one is likely to believe him, but that too doesn’t make any difference.
With the completion of the deal, the Middle East is forever changed. All escalation scenarios in regional conflict will have to account for the prospect of an Iranian bomb. To deter acts of aggression enhanced by this prospect, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan. The region will now be hostage to a possible nuclear war. Obama may get his political victory but at a price that puts the international community in a precarious state into the distant future. Thinking the unthinkable becomes thinkable again.
John Dryden wrote “…fool’d with hope, men favor the deceit.” One might contend that the naïve hope for the best and believe it will be achieved, but the sly enemy thinks hope is my ally in the effort to pursue negotiating advantage. Let the forces of innocence betray themselves on the altar of acceptance. The Ides of March are before us and we must entertain very bleak and uncomfortable scenarios.
Herbert London is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the President of the London Center for Policy Research. He is president emeritus of Hudson Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America).