Obama’s leadership and the new framework agreement with Iran

Robert E. Hunter writes: Well, Obama did it. Or, rather, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the other members of the P5+1 (the UN Security Council members, Germany, plus the EU) — and let us not neglect Iran — have done it. This is not a bad several months’ work. But now for the denizens of Washington and Washington-watchers everywhere, plus every possible party in the Middle East, the “fun” really begins.

For people who care about Obama’s core objective, to prevent Iran from getting the bomb, the framework agreement concluded in Lausanne has to be seen as a good deal, a very good deal indeed. Yes, hard negotiations still lie ahead, to meet the June 30 deadline to reduce the framework to some form of formal agreement — with the form itself likely to be debated thoroughly — in part to meet legitimate concerns in the US Congress over its constitutional role in critical foreign policy and security matters.

But despite the work that must be done in the next three months, those who care about Obama’s core objective can already exhale with a “whew” of historic proportions. That is also true for people who believe in the value of talking with enemies as well as friends. As put by the late Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, “You make peace with your enemies — not the Queen of Holland.” During the Cold War, arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union had benefits far beyond the technicalities of agreements reached. Because of the very fact of negotiations, it became possible to talk about broader issues and to move, however slowly, first to détente and then to the end of the Cold War. That can now become possible between the United States and Iran, far beyond the results in Lausanne on the so-called “nuclear file.” [Continue reading…]

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