Two Links-Iran Talks-Rolling The Dice

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Reading The Lausanne Tea Leaves

‘For the time being then, the wise way to react to what happened yesterday is not to jump to premature conclusions, and certainly not to jump to confusions fueled by either wishful thinking, or undue pessimism. As sick as some of us might be with this whole business, the truth is that it’s really only just begun.’

Some details from The Washington Post: ‘Obama’s Iran Deal Falls Far Short Of His Own Goals

‘Both Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry emphasized that many details need to be worked out in talks with Iran between now and the end of June. During that time, the administration will have much other work to do: It must convince Mideast allies that Iran is not being empowered to become the region’s hegemon, and it must accommodate Congress’s legitimate prerogative to review the accord. We hope Mr. Obama will make as much effort to engage in good faith with skeptical allies and domestic critics as he has with the Iranian regime.’

Some more from the Times about specifics.

This administration hasn’t done much to convince Republicans, skeptics, Congress, Israel, the Saudis, Sunni coalitions etc. that their interests and security concerns are being addressed during these negotiations.

The opportunity costs of claiming ‘war or this deal’ in engaging with the mullahs in Tehran include increasing that regime’s power and legitimacy by allowing sanctions relief, losing ‘street cred’ in a region where no international institutions exist to fill such a role, thus requiring likely more difficult future decisions (hello ISIS!), and the same continued projection of weakness over Syria, ISIS, Libya, to our allies, as well as to Moscow and Beijing.

If there’s any one place a nuclear arms race is most dangerous, it’s here.

Here’s to hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.

***Personally, given the President’s need for trust and patience from many quarters, a lot of skepticism is warranted: His actual record so far in the Middle-East is lacking, his ideological investment in the matter (activist logic renders decision-making especially political) is concerning, and the political capital he’s spent and the people he’s not included along the way….suggest a similar idealism, inexperience and potential over-estimation of his abilities.

While I recognize back-channels and secrecy are a must during these kinds of deals…more evidence of competence would be necessary.

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