The tensions between Russia and the West have further ratcheted up this week since the Crimean Peninsula's local government called for a referendum to secede from Ukraine. The current standoff between the West and Moscow concerning Ukraine might be viewed as the gravest instance of tension in the post-Cold War era.
This month, Iranian leaders encounter a unique and distinct political opportunity to improve Tehran's political image. The "London 11" will hold a meeting in Europe next week and the subject of Iran's role in the resolution efforts of the Syrian civil war as well as delivery of humanitarian aid to the nation will be discussed.
So where are we in the Iran narrative? I mean no disrespect to the victims of Iran's terrorist clients, or the existential fears of Israelis and world Jewry, or U.S. security interests in the Middle East by calling it a narrative. Real events do happen in the real world, but people can't help trying to fit them into larger stories. We love to connect the dots. Storytelling isn't some atavistic remnant of our pre-scientific past; it's how our brains are hardwired. When no one knows what comes next, the political advantage goes to the most powerful narrators. When no one knows how things will end up, the same events can be construed as signposts toward tragedy or triumph. The Geneva deal may turn out to advance America's Middle East interests; it may be a historic blunder; it may make no difference.