” I don’t think we’re stupid” — John Kerry, November 10, 2013
It’s always a bad sign when your nation’s chief diplomat begins a process of tough negotiations with some brutal authoritarian adversaries by protesting his non-stupidity. Then again, we’ve reached the point where even Parisian socialists feel the need to remind the U.S. Secretary of State of certain undeniable geopolitical realities on the ground. So here we are, seriously entertaining what the French Foreign Minister rightly warned could be a “fool’s bargain” with Iran.
Attention last week was focused on the failure of the Western powers to reach an interim nuclear deal with Tehran. That was the potential deal that made the French nervous. The bigger picture, however, is the broader set of negotiations over the coming months and their implications for American national security.
If Iran actually were to agree to a complete and verifiable dismantling of its nuclear weapons program, stop enriching and reprocessing uranium, shut down key facilities, and ship out all related materials – in full cooperation with international inspectors – then, of course, this would be most welcome. But there is little prospect of this kind of cooperation, or of this kind of deal. Iran hasnever even admitted that it has a nuclear weapons program, and it has been regularly mendacious about the true extent of its uranium enrichment facilities. This is not the behavior of a country simply looking for the peaceful use of nuclear power … or of one willing to give up the bomb. “