Even before the negotiations started, President Obama's detractors were saying that his efforts to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program would fail. Now that we have an actual plan to review, we can weigh the merits of that plan. I have read the plan and it is my opinion that the plan is a good plan that will work.
Most Americans struggle to recognize or understand their country's permanent security state, in which elected politicians seem to run the show, but the CIA and the Pentagon often take the lead -- a state that inherently gravitates toward military, rather than diplomatic, solutions to foreign-policy challenges. Viewed through the lens of history, the main job of U.S. presidents is to be mature and wise enough to stand up to the permanent war machine.
HONG KONG -- My Iranian friend who has family in the U.S. told me, "you can drive the length and breadth of the U.S., but you will not find a single place with anything like the culture you will find just here at Imam Square. Why do they think we will bow to them?" U.S. and European negotiators will do well to remember these words of a young businessman and not those of a religious fanatic. They should stroll through the bazaars of Isfahan and Shiraz if they have any second thoughts about inking the agreement with the Iranians.
Because much of the cooperation between Iran and North Korea is shrouded in mystery, their relationship is ripe for exploitation, particularly by those who are eager to find a hammer to destroy the impending nuclear agreement with Iran. But if this is the only implement that critics can find to inflict damage, they're scraping the bottom of their toolbox of destruction.
Absent a credible military threat, there is no reason to believe that Iran will come clean regarding its nuclear program if Washington surrenders its remaining leverage. Nor is it reasonable to hang one's hat on the belief that Iran will moderate its behavior if both its diplomatic and financial isolation is ended.