The last year and a half of negotiations between Iran and six international powers has created a remarkable and historic shift. Not only have relations between the United States and Iran begun to thaw after 30 years of enmity, but it is increasingly looking like the international community will be able to solve the Iran nuclear crisis together.
The challenge for the Obama administration is not only to secure an agreement with Iran but to avoid the fate of the Agreed Framework. That 1994 accord failed to prepare for a breakthrough in bilateral relations or prevent North Korea from acquiring a nuclear weapon. It has cast a long shadow over the current negotiations as well as other non-proliferation efforts.
Some memoirs concentrate on self-promotion and score-settling, but Hill avoids the former and mostly eschews the latter. He focuses instead on the on-the-ground work of the diplomat, which may entail dangerous forays far beyond embassy walls. What comes through with exceptional clarity in this book is Hill's concept of service.
Although he didn't have a formal invitation to address the Israeli Parliament, when the motorcade whipped through Jerusalem and pulled up at the Knesset, President Obama was greeted by a huge crowd of both citizens and legislators from the full spectrum of parties, and the President was whisked inside.
Speaker Boehner is now using the policy debate on Iran as a crass political attack on the constitutional authority of the president of the United States. In the process, he does great damage to our national institutions, our efforts to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and the U.S.-Israeli alliance.