Monday, November 29, 2004

Iran and Diplomacy

A fascinating article in the Washington Post about the agreement inked today between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency demonstrates--quite strikingly, in my opinion--two points.

One, diplomacy can work, IF it's true diplomacy, which requires give and take and the willingness to make concessions and to compromise on both sides. To wit: Iran agreed to drop a last-minute request to continue research work on their nuclear program. In return, the IAEA agreed to include language stating that the suspension of the nuclear program was voluntary; and also agreed that violations of the agreement by Iran would be reported to other countries, but would not be reported to the UN Security Council--a stipulation the United States had wanted.

Two, it is infinitely easier to make an agreement with a country like Iran (i.e., a country the U.S. considers a rogue nation) if the U.S. is not calling the shots, and if it can be demonstrated to said rogue nation that the U.S. is not calling the shots.

On the other hand, the United States has shown the world once again that it distrusts and puts no faith in diplomacy. Why use diplomacy when belligerence is available? To wit:

The Bush administration pressured Europe to support "more aggressive" (read, compulsory) international inspections of Iran's facilities--in spite of the fact that inspectors go to Iraq frequently, and Iran has been cooperating with the inspections voluntarily. And to wit:

Bush officials have already stated publicly that they expect Iran to violate the agreement, and that the U.S. decision not to block it is simply for form's sake, and that, by the way, if the U.S. decides Iran has violated the agreement, it gives itself the unilateral right to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council.

Reminds me of the scene in Rob Roy where Tim Roth's character rapes Jessica Lange's character to prove to his comrades that you do not ask for what you want; you take it and force the person under your control to surrender it to you.

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