Renewed Nuclear Talks with Iran on the Horizon

Commentary – Oct 22, 2012

If reports in the Wall Street Journal are to be believed, talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear program are looming into view again. Although no firm date has been set for renewed negotiations, according to the WSJ the diplomatic window of opportunity is seen as opening between the U.S. presidential elections in November and into early 2013.
It’s a narrow window of opportunity and still shrouded in much uncertainty. For as soon as reports of the possibility of renewed negotiations emerged both the U.S. and Tehran denied them.
A White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor insisted: “It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections.” Although he did concede that the Obama administration had “said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally”.
For his part Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters, “We are not involved in such a thing right now,” when asked about the reports.
Even if further negotiations have been agreed such denials could be expected however, if only because of accusations from Mitt Romney’s campaign that the Obama Administration was weak on Iran and preparing to “jettison” its traditional Middle East allies.
On the eve of the final presidential debate Monday night, which focuses on U.S. foreign policy, Obama will want to be seen as being firm over Iran; hence the denials over the prospect of renewed talks.
Nonetheless, without them the prospect of war looms and it’s something the U.S. will want to avoid.
It may be the world’s foremost military power but the fact is that the U.S. does not have a particularly fine military record. Indeed, in recent times America’s list of military achievements has been nothing to be proud of.
Yes, it has the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal and some high performance military aircraft and impressive aircraft carriers, but modern Americans are not a warrior people. They have the hardware, for sure, but from Vietnam to Cambodia, from Afghanistan to Iraq the U.S. has taken on far lesser opponents and won few clear-cut victories. 
With combat fatigue and budgetary constraints setting in the U.S. will be doing its utmost to avoid open conflict with an emerging power like Iran. For the fact is that Iran is technically more advanced and militarily more powerful than any of America’s recent adversaries.
We think the U.S. military command understands this. They also know that Iran is rapidly developing the ability to take on U.S. air power, America’s foremost weapon of choice in recent conflicts.
Indeed with its new long–range radar systems and new medium range anti-aircraft systems entering service and new long-range anti-aircraft systems close to being fielded, Iran could soon prove more than a match for U.S. military power.
This accounts for the indirect offensive against Iran in recent years, the sanctions and assassinations of Iranian scientists and the fomenting of strife in Iran’s ally, Syria. The U.S. is doing its utmost to stop Iran’s emergence as a regional player, short of direct military confrontation.
Murders, assassinations, sanctions, trade and financial restrictions, inciting civil strife; together with its allies the U.S. is doing all it can; everything except direct military confrontation.  
For America’s power is rapidly fading while Iran is growing stronger, almost by the day and U.S. military commanders know this.
Hence we think that there may be some substance to reports of renewed negotiations.
So if military conflict with Iran doesn’t erupt by the end of this year it never will, Iran’s power is burgeoning even as America’s declines.
We are at a historical turning point, a transition between one age and the next, a world in which America’s power and all it represents will fade. Whether that transition will be accompanied by upheaval and military conflict will depend on what happens in the coming weeks.

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