Waiting for a Nuclear Godot

I am not one of the people advocating war with Iran in order to eliminate Iran’s ability to manufacture a nuclear arsenal. I don’t believe that military action is feasible at this point without a large scale invasion and an Iraq-style takeover of the country, which would bring even larger headaches for the occupation forces. That having been written, I’d like to know precisely what the Obama administration thinks will change if negotiators hang around in Switzerland and continue to press for a nuclear deal. There has been no give from the Iranian delegation regarding the remaining stumbling blocks to a deal; if anything, there has been retrenchment on Iran’s part that will only serve to sabotage hopes for a workable deal. The March 31 deadline for the completion of a deal represents yet another allegedly firm Obama administration negotiating stance that got tossed to the side once the administration’s bluff was called. If members of the international community have not yet learned that they should not take the administration’s red lines seriously, then they frankly have not been paying attention.

There is no one in firm control of American foreign policy. The design and implementation of policy is a complete and tangled mess. Allies no longer trust us and adversaries simply do not take us seriously; it’s not for nothing that the Saudis are now freelancing in the realm of foreign affairs, convinced that they cannot trust the United States to lead, or to support those who are willing to lead in America’s stead.

In 2008, candidate Obama promised us a smart foreign policy if only we would be enlightened enough to elect him to the presidency. In 2012, President Obama assured us that we were getting a smart foreign policy, and that we would continue to get one if only we would be enlightened enough to re-elect him. Political promises get broken often. Few have been broken as dramatically.

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