Thanks to retreats like this one, it is Khamenei’s red lines, not Obama’s, that have determined the shape of the emerging deal—a fact that prompts the president’s critics to accuse him of fecklessness and/or naïveté. But these descriptions miss the mark. The president is not wedded to any set of specific demands. For him, the specific terms of the nuclear agreement are far less important than its mere existence. One of Obama’s greatest diplomatic successes is to have persuaded much of the world, including many of his critics, that the primary goal of his Iran diplomacy is to negotiate a nuclear arms-control agreement. In fact, the primary goal is détente with Iran.

Doran, Michael.  “The Tectonic Shift in Obama’s Iran Policy: A nuclear deal is only the beginning. The president’s goal, at the expense of America’s allies, is full-fledged détente with Iran.”  Mosaic, April 22, 2015.


BackChannels comment: It makes complete sense, and I hope it’s completely wrong — but it’s a complete and lucid analysis of a foreign policy that has been wrested from the awareness and perception of most Americans and fellow travelers.

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