August 2, 2012

On Iran, We’ll Probably Get Fooled Again

On Iran, We'll Probably Get Fooled Again - Bret Stephens
“The larger question is why the U.S. continues to believe that there's a grand bargain to be struck with the mullahs, and that it lies just inches out of reach. Western analysts have become experts in explaining why Tehran has rejected every diplomatic overture made to it—bad timing, bad mood music, niggardly terms—without ever alighting on what Mr. Kifner noted in 1981: The mullahs believe they have a cause worth fighting for. They take our concessions as evidence of weakness, and our pragmatism as proof of corruption. They're not entirely mistaken.”

Comment: This is an insightful item from Stephens regarding our apparent inability to learn from history or even established patterns of behavior. I am reminded of a memoir written by Herbert Goldhamer in 1951 while at RAND. Goldhamer had a front-row seat during several months of negotiations with the North Koreans. Their approach, like that of the current regimes in North Korea, China, Russia and Iran, emphasized bullying, delay, tantrums, and weak appearances of almost coming to agreement. The West gave ground every time. The same thing is happening vis-a-vis Iran and its nuclear program.

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