Friday, April 20, 2012

The Neocon Nightmare

For me, the key test is full IAEA access to all nuclear sites identified as potentially covert military programs. All of this could be done in confidence-building stages. The trouble, of course, is that the Netanyahu-Romney axis could try to derail this, as Fareed worries. Netanyahu is still grotesquely comparing the Iranian nuclear program to Auschwitz. And his disturbed and dangerous psyche could mesh with Romney's goal of running a Cheneyesque GOP campaign on defense: hulk go smash. But this paradoxically could help make a deal possible. Obama is Tehran's best hope for a suspension of threatened European sanctions this summer, and Netanyahu's crazed Holocaust obsession and Romney's foreign policy crudeness would be the alternative. That's the final leverage for the great powers to use to persuade the Iranians that it is now or never.

So we are reaching what is clearly a moment of truth for Obama's Iran policy. So far, I'd argue, it has all the ingredients of success, has been a real diplomatic feather in the cap for the administration and, if it reaches a serious deal, will represent a real coup for Obama abroad. He will have ended torture, finished the war in Iraq, destroyed al Qaeda, killed bin Laden and resolved the Iran question. An Iran deal would also show how exactly Obama's long game can work, if given time.

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