DeM Banter: Interesting take on what appears to be a very real trait in what we have come to call “foreign policy.” Honestly…who would not take advantage of the crisis of leadership in DC. We are on the world stage and not for the greatness of our system, but for the folly. Interesting times to be sure…
Iran is out maneuvering and out witting the United States and the West at almost every twist and turn.
The reason is simple — and sad.
Iran understands the West far, far better than the West understands Iran. The Iranians have made the effort to study the West culturally, historically, religiously and linguistically. The West, and the United States is the biggest culprit when it comes to this, assumes that all other countries think as they do, react as they do, wants to do as they do. And the sad truth is that the United States is simply wrong.
Iran knows the Achilles heel of the West.
The weakness of the United States and the West is, at times, a great strength. The unbounded optimism and the hope that people can change is paramount in the ideals of American and Western culture. The belief that people can make amends and that conflicts can be resolved is the Western way.
Forgiving mistakes, misunderstandings and actions that may have been hurtful, what we call turning the other cheek, is common behavior in Western culture. But when that munificent attitude is carried over into the international arena, when it becomes part of foreign policy, it confuses other cultures and peoples around the world. But not Iran. Iran is onto the West, Iran preys on our ego and on our frailties.
The recent P5+1 meeting in Geneva is the perfect example. The West, especially the United States was elated by “the talks.” They even referred to them as “the most serious so far.” The conversations even took place in English, not in Farsi as had been until this round. Truth is, speaking English was a huge manipulation on the part of Iran. They know how English-centric the United States is and how the United States would feel flattered and fulfilled by the gesture- and they know just as surely that switching to English means totally nothing to them.
And then, when Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on his Facebook page that they will be having another meeting very soon with the P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, the United States and other Western nations had proverbial stars in their eyes. During the two-day meetings Zarif had tremendous back pain and could not walk, so he used a wheelchair. Now I am not saying that Zarif was faking it, but certainly, his wheel chair was disarming for Western diplomats who are more inclined to sympathize with anyone writhing in pain.
Jay Carney, White House spokesman, described the Iranian participation in the meetings as “very useful” but added that “no one should expect a breakthrough overnight.” He said: “The Iranian proposal was a new proposal with a level of seriousness and substance that we had not seen before.
These are complicated issues… and as the president has said, the history of mistrust is very deep.” Never the less, the United States has been to put it politely disarmed. To put it more accurately, duped, and they will probably be in favor of dropping sanctions against Iran very shortly. There has been talk of unfreezing Iranian assets in the U.S.
Russia sees it very differently.
Russia is skeptical and not at all excited about what other countries see as change. The Russian want to see real change in Iran’s behavior, not a simple exchange of polite words. They do not believe that the meeting in Geneva is a guarantee of progress for future nuclear talks with Iran. The Russian point of view is that: “The result is better than in Almaty (talks that took place in April), but it does not guarantee further progress,” Sergey Ryabkov, deputy Russian foreign minister and key negotiator on Iran, was cited by Interfax as saying: “There could have been better cooperation.” That statement was picked up by Reuters.
Arab nations have begun to express their concern about Iran’s nice new image. And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted at this when he spoke about the countries in the region recognizing that Israel was not their enemy. By that he meant that Israel is stepping in to fill the void created by the new United States position on Iran — both as a result of their gullibility and their diplomatic debacles in Syria and Egypt.
Bottom line is that the West, with the United States at the lead, is being outplayed by Iran and to compensate, the entire Middle East region is readjusting their orientation. The Middle East will survive this change in status. About the West, I’m not so sure.
Follow Micah D. Halpern on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@micahhalpern