"One of the great unresolved questions of Barack Obama's presidency," says Time magazine, "is whether he can peacefully resolve America's conflict with Iran over its nuclear weapons program."
One of the great unresolved questions of Barack Obama's presidency is whether he can successfully resolve America's conflict with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.
Time continues that the Obama- Rouhani handshake "would be the most important... handshake since the historic grip between [Yitzhak] Rabin and [Yasser] Arafat."
Remember that while it has still not been admitted by the United States, that event, 20 (!) years later, has proven a costly failure. Israel now must satisfy seemingly monthly American demands by releasing terrorists who murdered Israelis.
The handshakes of prime minister Neville Chamberlain with Hitler (the Munich agreement) and of the Nazi foreign minister and Stalin (the Nazi-Soviet pact) were also historic, peaceful gestures - but ultimately unsuccessful ones.
Time continues, "It would only be a symbolic act, to be sure. But when it comes to international diplomacy, symbolism can go a long way."
Alas, it is not a mere symbolic act, but the start of a foolish deal that Iran will break.
SO IS Iran a lunatic state or a rational actor? Well, it's a hell of a lot more rational than US foreign policy is today. After all, the UN just elected Iran Rapporteur for the General Assembly's main committee on disarmament and international security, without Tehran having to do anything in return. And Obama will blame Congress for diplomatic failure if it increases sanctions. In fact diplomats doubt Iran will actually do anything anyway.
That's not "moderate," but radical - the smart kind of radical.
Put more politely, Iran is a rational actor in terms of its own objectives. The issue is understanding what Iran wants. Policy is always best served by truth, whether or not people like it: Iran is an aggressive, rational actor.
Remember: The problem is not that Iran is eager to use nuclear weapons but that the Obama administration is not going to apply containment properly and credibly. And that encourages Iran's non-nuclear aggression and terrorism.
The hysteria over Iran, however, had also better be gotten under control, without belittling the real, very threatening situation developing regarding the Islamic Republic.