Despite the many setbacks, it's still easier to reach a deal than to deal with the consequences of not obtaining one
Iranian nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland concluded on Wednesday with no clear decision. Conflict remains over the finest details governing an agreement which would, theoretically, act to guide Iranian nuclear progress toward a peaceful and sustainable end. However, the United States, Britain, Germany, Russia, France, and China do remain insistent that this end be peaceful-even with the addition of fissile materials and their associated facilities. Efforts have persisted for nearly a decade.
Meanwhile, Iran has maintained its rather steady pace toward obtaining sufficient facilities and materials for the productive use of the previously mentioned fissile materials (with the exception of a horrible chain of coincidences which include car-bomb assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and the Stuxnet virus). It is, indeed, very possible that the breakdown of the talks will act precisely to perpetuate the same endless system of handshaking and microphone-waving that we’ve all grown so accustomed to.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond “I think we have a broad framework of understanding, but there are still some key issues that have to be worked through… Some of them are quite detailed and technical so there is still quite a lot of work to do but we are on it now and we’ll keep going at it.”
Now, this may, at first reading, sound like nonsense political double-speak, but by no means be fooled. One can sleep soundly at night with the assurance that courageous diplomats across Europe and the Middle East are doing their best to bring this (nearly age-old) conflict to a swift, concise, and assured end. Surely they, and the enormous economic-political-military entities they represent have nothing to gain from simply drawing things out indefinitely so as to not have to make a definite decision.
Freshman Senator Tom Cotton “proves once again that Iran is calling the shots […] The best solution is walk away from the nuclear negotiations now and return to a position of strength,” continuing that congress “should act immediately to impose new sanctions.”
Realistically, the imposition of further sanctions only increases the likelihood of mutually magnified hostility (MMH?) between Iran, the United States, and their respective global players (Russia, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc).
Added to this is the increased probability of said (once again, theoretical) friction reaching a point of critical mass, after which violence could erupt in any number of given vectors across the Middle Eastern theatre. The likelihood that nuclear weapons will actually be used (theoretically) increases in magnitude in close correspondence with the number of major nuclear powers actively engaging each other in combat (naturally).
An objective to be realized, then, is one that is, first and foremost, about obtaining a stance from which all players can gain a more or less objective understanding of the geo-political picture. Second a level of dialogue must be achieved which addresses the fundamental issue which governs this tiresome conflict.
If a (international pariah) country like North Korea can obtain the bomb and then find itself capable of not raining hellfire down upon its enemies, and subsequently participating in a relatively appropriate manner within the international system, then it follows that (theoretically) Iran can as well.
Now, certainly, no rational actor would, at first thought, give this proposition any weight, however a deeper analysis can allow one to project several moves ahead. Furthermore, If Iran obtains nuclear weapons by any means and uses them in any way on any form of life they will lack the moral authority for such action simply by virtue of their having them in their possession. An additional, and very real, possibility which exists is that of an entirely peaceful Iranian nuclear “proliferation.”
The horizon of peace is far wider, in terms of avenues toward prosperity and continued diplomatic cooperation, than its warlike cousin. Those who seek to undermine global stability do so at their own peril, especially when the odds can annihilate our dear Mother Earth.