There’s a deadline today. It’s a deadline for the US to reach a deal with Iran, to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons.
As of 3 pm today, March 31, 2015, Israel time, news reports don’t sound optimistic that a deal will be reached. It seemed that, as the deadline loomed, Iran dug in its heels. Iran wants all sanctions lifted now. But it won’t yield on a number of nuclear items.
How will the US under Barack Obama handle the intransigent, demanding Iran? Will the US walk? Will the US sign something just to get a deal done?
Here’s an item from a reader. It’s a recent editorial from Investors .com (March 30, 2015):
“Iran Is Shaking Down Desperate-Seeming United States”
Iran: At the eleventh hour before the Tuesday deadline, Tehran negotiators predictably changed positions and demanded new concessions. Unfortunately, unlike Ronald Reagan, President Obama won't be walking away.
As the world's leading terrorist sponsor state, which for years has sought nuclear weapons, backs Secretary of State John Kerry and negotiators for the other major powers into a corner, Americans should think back nearly three decades ago to a low-key former British Embassy in northern Reykjavik in Iceland.
It was there, in October 1986, that Ronald Reagan picked up his papers and walked out on a U.S.-Soviet summit, not caring a whit what the media or the Washington establishment would say.
In "The Age of Reagan," Steven Hayward recalls what Reagan had to endure after refusing to give up the embryonic U.S. missile defense program against nuclear attack, in a last-minute Soviet negotiating demand.
State Department diplomats there were devastated that there was no deal. "Some of Reagan's own people shared the sour mood. ... The mood on Air Force One returning to Washington was somber" with few exceptions, wrote Hayward, though "Reagan's old friend and U.S. Information Agency director Charles Wick told Reagan he had just won the Cold War, though the logic of his optimism was not transparent at that moment."
He had won the Cold War by standing his ground that day, as many ex-Soviets confirmed. Striking a note familiar today, Gorbachev adviser Anatoly Chernyaev's notes show that the Russian ruler believed "Reagan needs" a deal at Reykjavik "as a matter of personal ambition, so as to go down in history as a 'peace president.'"
But Reagan needed nothing of the sort. He knew his job was to protect the nation and the Free World and that those seated across from him were representatives of what he wasn't afraid to call an Evil Empire.
The Obama administration inhabits a very different planet. The president may have said earlier this month that he would be willing to walk away from a bad deal, but to do so would mean a foreign policy legacy over eight years that boasts only surrender in two wars and the consequent rise of the savage Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Unlike Reagan, Obama does need this deal. Or his ego does anyway.
And it is a bad deal indeed. Tehran has apparently reneged on its willingness to ship its already-enriched uranium to Russia — a point of no consolation to the U.S. anyway, since Moscow has spent decades helping Iran construct its nuclear program. And Iran is now demanding that all sanctions be lifted immediately.
An increasingly desperate-seeming U.S., meanwhile, has been making 11th-hour concessions, like letting Iran operate centrifuges enriching uranium at an underground facility built to withstand attacks by American or Israeli bombers.
Kerry said at a Swiss chocolate shop on Friday that there will be a deal inshallah — "if Allah wishes it."
Americans who have been watching closely, on the other hand, are hoping God will save us from a deal.
My comment: the US should walk away from any negotiations that won’t guarantee a nuclear-free Iran. Will it?
It might, at least this time.
We’ll find out in a matter of hours.