24 January, 2006

Making It Up As They Go Along

Diplomacy is...
...asking the cop who just stopped you for speeding if he'd mind if you take your hands off the wheel for a moment in order to pull your cell phone out of your pocket to call your daughter to tell her you're going to be late to pick her up from school while he writes up your ticket.

Diplomacy is not...
...putting your mob friend Guido on the phone to tell said cop that he'd better put down that ticket pad and get back in his squad car now or you're going to drive off in a spray of gravel and burning rubber and oh by the way the reason you were speeding was that you're on your way to a shooting spree at the local elementary school and he'd better not follow you or you'll get him and his family too and would he mind terribly if you continue loading your Uzi while he sat by and watched and could he please hold the mirror while you do another line of coke?

That is called contempt.

Russia's national security chief and Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that Tehran's nuclear standoff must be resolved by diplomatic efforts in the U.N. atomic watchdog agency [IAEA]. The Kremlin statement reflected Russia's efforts to delay Iran's referral to the U.N. Security Council and Moscow's opposition to international sanctions against Tehran. "Both sides expressed their desire to solve the issue in a diplomatic way within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency," Russia's Security Council said in a statement after the meeting between council chief Igor Ivanov and Ali Larijani of Iran. The meeting came after Iran warned that IAEA referral to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear ambitions would lead it to move forward with a full-scale uranium enrichment program, a possible precursor to making atomic weapons. [emphasis added]
Completely blowing off your appointment with the IAEA in Vienna does not make anyone more likely to believe that you would abide by what they have to say anyway. And threatening to do something you're already doing (or that everyone believes you're doing) isn't really much of a threat. I shouldn't have expected as much as I did from the Russian negotiations. What a waste. Iran is both setting the tempo and dealing the cards and that's not good.