Here we go again. The desperate, failed, distendly myopic European diplomatic establishment will, once again, engage Iran with U.S. blessings. According to Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, UN Security Council participants plus German (5+1) will resume talks with Iran.
For the record, Europe engaged in negotiations with Iran for six full years; the results? Iran made geometric progress on their nuclear program; Iran, also thanked the 5+1 publically for helping them buy the time necessary to do so. No level of insult penetrates the European diplomatic consciousness.
Russia and China are a part of the 5+1 and their history is clear; they have opposed sanctions on Iran consistently. With Russia and China in the game and sitting at the table does anyone think that Iran will be surprised at whatever the 5+1 strategy for the talks may be?
Why? There is a plethora of reasons, given European and administration attitudes toward Israel. It’s not about negotiating with Iran; it’s about holding back Israel and Iran will read the signal correctly. The announcement came as PM Netanyahu visits Washington. The timing and motivations are transparent; the announcement could not have gone forward absent U.S. approval. Regardless of the President’s new found supportive rhetoric regarding Israel, the back channel is where the message is. The message to Israel is ‘heel, boy heel’! Not to stretch a metaphor but the back is also where the knife typically goes.
U.S. intelligence on Iran has long been politicized beginning with the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, NIE. That estimate was short on intelligence and long on policy recommendations. The ability of the authors to pursue a cogent trail of logic was absent, even to a cursory review. Knowledgeable critics, cast severe doubt on the validity of that report. The critics of the NIE were correct. In 2007 the intelligence community was committed to restrain President Bush, which it did. The NIE also restrained the application of consensus for severe sanctions; had we applied those sanctions in 2007 or 2008 we could have been beyond the problem today.
While talks could produce a different result in light of stronger sanctions and hoping that is the case; there is no evidence, no signal, no tangible sense that Iranian policy will change. The Iranians will do what they have always done; disassemble, buy time and continue toward a nuclear weapon with renewed vigor.
The most likely result is that the 5+1 will be ‘played’ again. Failure this time will result in an Israeli strike for the simplest of reasons. Time will have run out!