If, as it seems, the enemies of a settlement with Iran will fail to prevent it, then the next question is, “Might they be able later on to force its failure?” The answer, clearly, is “Yes.” Any number of political factions on both sides will be tempted, so it will be essential that Washington prepare itself.
Surely, no American would consider anything so immoral and unpatriotic as a false-flag operation to subvert U.S. diplomacy by making either side appear guilty of betraying the accord, but there will be plenty of groups in the Mideast—Sunni jihadis, IRGC extremists (who may be just as hostile to the nuclear accord as the GOP), Zionist extremists, and perhaps some we cannot even imagine)—that would be delighted to create a new U.S.-Iranian dispute as a smokescreen for this election or that expansionist move.
The nuclear accord is really little more than an agreement by those desiring a calm and prosperous Mideast to try to overcome the mountain of mutual distrust, based on repeated misbehavior. If this is a 10-year agreement, its success will require 10 years of constant mutual care to bring its hope to fruition.
Some people still alive will recall the terror of the Cuban missile crisis, that unnecessary crisis an idiotic display of irresponsibility but one that led to the shocking idea of a hot line telephone connection between the White House and the Kremlin, just in case Leader A wished to ask Leader B, “Ah, you don’t really want to blow up the world just now, do you?”
The U.S. and Iran need a regular weekly diplomatic lunch, perhaps in a quiet little restaurant in Switzerland, so each side can vent frustrations and find out what actions need to be taken to avoid either side perceiving the other as having ill intent. If there is ill intent, then we are in trouble. But if it so happens that the feuding factions on each side conclude that they really do want this deal to work, then it would be a shame for it all to blow up in our faces (pun intended) simply because someone mistakenly distrusted someone else.
The last decade was hard; the next one will be even harder. It is, nonetheless, worth the effort.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|