Kerry Makes the Case for Diplomacy

This week’s developments illustrate the role of diplomat as manager, persuader, and demagogue. Secretary Kerry must negotiate with the Iranians and the Group of 6, his own government (interagency, internal State, White House, and of course, Congress), sell it to the various publics, and the constituent partners in the Middle East and Europe.

“The time to oppose it is when you see what it is,” he said, “not to oppose the effort to find out what is possible.”

But with the prospect of a deal suddenly more real than it has been for a decade, Mr. Kerry is having to fend off those who want to pre-empt it. He is insisting to allies that the United States will drive a hard bargain with the Iranians and doing his best to dispel rumors.

The latest round of talks failed, he said, not because of dissent from France, as has been reported, but because the Iranians rejected an offer put on the table by the French, along with the United States, Britain, China, Germany and Russia. “The French signed off on it; we signed off on it,” Mr. Kerry said. “There was unity, but Iran couldn’t take it.”

He offered familiar arguments as well: Without diplomacy, he said, Iran is much more likely to obtain a nuclear bomb, which would set off an arms race in the Middle East and leave everyone less secure. He even raised his own service in Vietnam as a reminder of war’s futility.

Still, the forces arrayed against a deal are diverse and potent: Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states, as well as a sizable contingent of Iran hawks in Congress. Mr. Netanyahu, who warned that Geneva was shaping up as a “deal of the century” for Iran, is calling on other leaders to rally opposition. An Israeli minister, Naftali Bennett, is mobilizing Jewish groups in the United States to try to block it.

via After Near Miss on Iran, Kerry Says Diplomacy Is Still the Right Path –


5 thoughts on “Kerry Makes the Case for Diplomacy”

  1. This is a negotiation situation has the potential to be very dangerous for those who could be threatened by Iran’s weapons. I believe that Obama needs to step into the picture and take over the negotiations. His influence could help solve the stalemate and although he believes that Asia should be focused on, the government has been interested in Iranian affairs and their nuclear progress. I think that the Iranian government is willing to negotiate, but it needs a little more incentive and motivation.

  2. I think it’s worth remembering that the Iranian search for nuclear weapons is a natural (though not necessarily justified) response to:

    (1) The constant threat of U.S. aggression (since Pres. Obama and past leaders have repeatedly said that “all options are on the table”, i.e. they are willing to consider overthrowing the Iranian government by force.
    (2) The presence of Israeli nuclear warheads in the Middle East.

    The U.S. throughout these negotiations will probably continue to insist that it is the Iranians who are violating some international consensus, and refuse to discuss its own rule in contributing to the stability of the region. But we do not have to follow this official line, nor should we.

  3. I’m not sure what Kerry and Obama think has changed here. Iran may be taking a new approach publicly, but to think that their goals have changed would be very naive. Fortunately, the French and Israel seem to be much more wary of the drastic change in tone. It is very possible that Iran sees this as an opportune moment to take advantage of an American administration that has been weak in foreign policy lately (Syria).

  4. It’s really smart of Kerry to make diplomacy a priority and to try to talk about these issues before they get more heated. However, can you really blame Iran? For year the US has been this looming superpower and nobody has been able to challenge them successfully because nobody has the power to. Other countries trying to obtain nuclear weapons makes sense- having them might give them back some control over what the US can/can’t tell them to do.

  5. One of the important aspects of this deal to consider is the nuclear agreements that neighboring countries have already entered into. The article mentions that the UAE has already made prior arrangements to not domestically enrich uranium.

    The premise behind Iran’s argument is that, as a signatory of the NPT, they have an inherent right to enrich uranium. If the P5+1 agrees to this position, then it’s easy to imagine how other countries, which gave up this right, will react. Surely, they would also want the ability to enrich uranium.

    I’m still very conflicted about the whole situation. However, it’s important to remember that this deal will likely set the premise for future policy in the Middle East.

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