War and Iranian 'Negotiations'
There is plenty of room for debate over precisely how to handle the diplomatic wrangling over the Iranian nuclear crisis. Yet, just as an IAEA without the teeth of the Security Council is feckless against such a determined actor, so too are diplomatic efforts with potential harsh consequences predisposed and discarded as unfiting options in any circumstance. It is one thing to not want war, which is a common sentiment among all who seriously understand the consequences thereof. It is entirely another to believe that this warfare as consequence is worse than any other option, which would likely include eventual warfare on the other's terms and through their means. The removal of consequence reduces negotiations to gainful but meaningless employment for the actors involved. So it seems for Europe.
Consider a commentary appearing in Investor's Business Daily, Neutralizing Tehran.
Last week, after meetings of the "six world powers," the EU offered, in the words of a Reuters dispatch, to "drop the automatic threat of military action if Iran remains defiant."
Ponder that for a moment. The EU says it will, in essence, do nothing, no matter what — other than, perhaps, put some feeble sanctions in place. Yet it somehow expects this will prod Iran to act.
The IBD column goes on in incredulous disbelief of the hollow logic employed, making other keen observations and crucial points. But those two paragraphs could easily be repeated over and over numerous times without aid of additional supporting argument and the argument put forth by the column would be no less effective.
If Europe were Management and Iran were an Auto Workers' Union, the strike would have long been over...along with the solvency of the automaker and those employed by it. Just as with labor-management relations, international negotiations cannot be entered into from a voluntary position of weakness by either side.
Europe consistently cedes the most clearly understood position of strength. It's not about whether you want war. The unrecognized irony is that the option of war is about whether or not you want negotiations to succeed.