Bizarre reading of the Vienna agreement about Iran’s atomic program in the Washington Post this morning. In a news analysis Glenn Kessler writes:
For years, the Bush administration has warned of the Iranian threat, but its concerns were belittled or ignored as yet another example of American hyperbole. Now, however, Washington has persuaded Russia, China and European allies to agree to the same red line.
In the cast of this global game we have the American President in the starring role, clear-sighted, visionary, warning the world of the dangers ahead while the other actors, blindly, scramble about. Now, the supporting cast has finally gotten it. Due to strong American leadership and superior reasoning the others have reached the point where the Americans have been waiting for them.
Well, my own recollection of the process is a little different: the Europeans, in the form of the EU-3, have negotiated with the Iranians for years, precisely because they saw the danger to their own security if a revolutionary, revisionist, anti-semitic Iranian regime aquires the bomb. They have realized the real threat is Iran while the US got bogged down in Iraq, a place where no threat could be found (the Brits, as always, being in both camps at the same time). They have tried to establish red lines vis-a-vis Iran. They have tried to convince the Americans to come aboard. Only now, running out of options, the Bush administration has agreed to join the talks. The White House is doing so with a smart move: it is trying to extract concessions from all parties before they even join. The Iranians are supposed to suspend their uranium enrichment process; the other security council powers plus Germany shall agree on carrots+sticks first.
Somebody help me: Am I getting this wrong? Am I just looking at things from the perspective of a self-righteous European? Or is someone in Washington trying to rewrite history?
Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is the Washington Bureau Chief of the German weekly DIE ZEIT.