Central View: Geneva — diplomacy for dummies
December 13, 2013
At the recent meeting in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, in essence, told the Iranians: If Iran likes its nuclear weapons program; Iran can keep its nuclear weapons program. Period. On top of that, we are going to relax the economic sanctions that brought Iran to the bargaining table in the first place.
Going into the Geneva negotiations, the deck was loaded in favor of Iran and loaded against Israel. The Iranians know President Obama will never use force against Iran. Moreover, the Iranians know Obama will do all in his power to prevent Israel from using force against Iran. So, for Iran to come out on top at Geneva was a no-brainer.
Moreover, Iran's victory at Geneva is what happens when the U.S. head-of-state is desperate to change the subject from ObamaCare going down the dumper to a foreign-policy issue about which most voters know little or nothing. Did it work? Yes, Obama's poll numbers stopped falling. Also, the Geneva debacle is what happens when your foreign secretary is desperate to achieve some kind of distinction in a career which, otherwise, has depended upon his wife's Heinz catsup fortune. What we know of the public protocols of the Geneva agreement is bad enough. But what about the secret protocols known only to Iran, to our White House, and to our State Department? We taxpayers are kept in the dark. But, if the secret protocols are good for our side, why can't we be told?
Here, the Munich Analogy is more than apt. Many people think that Neville Chamberlain was immediately scorned for giving Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Only in Czechoslovakia was that true. Each time Chamberlain came back to Britain after giving Hitler whatever he wanted, Chamberlain was praised to the skies by a British public still reeling from the losses of young men and women in World War I.
Today, with the 20/20 hindsight of history, Neville Chamberlain's weakness in the face of the Nazi dictator is almost universally scorned. But Chamberlain was anything but a weak-kneed politician. If you read Lynn Olson's "Those Troublesome Young Men," you learn that Chamberlain was brutal, mean-spirited, and crafty. Chamberlain bugged the telephones of Winston Churchill and the other "troublesome" members of Parliament and had their personal mail intercepted and read by his henchmen. Chamberlain's primary interest was remaining as England's Prime Minister. The security of Great Britain was secondary. It was only after Hitler invaded Poland that Chamberlain was forced by circumstances beyond his control to deliver an ultimatum to Hitler to withdraw from Poland or be in a state of war with Great Britain.
When the British people finally realized the need for a real leader to confront the Nazi menace, Chamberlain was put out of office and replaced by Mr. Winston Churchill. The rest, as they say, is history. Or, as Obama might have said upon taking office in January, 2009: If you Brits like your bust of Winston Churchill, you can keep your bust of Winston Churchill. Period. I don't want that bust of Winston Churchill staring at me from across the Oval Office.
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Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.