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The State Department's announcement Tuesday of a sanctions waiver that will allow Iran to access blocked funds in Japan and South Korea was the latest in a string of decisions indicating that President Biden's foreign policy team is afflicted with an appalling misunderstanding of the relationship between leverage and diplomacy. History has shown that diplomacy, the practice of influencing the conduct of a foreign entity through negotiations, without leverage, the "action or advantage" of applying pressure on an object (e.g. using a lever in the most instrumental sense of the term), tends not to go very far.
Secret diplomatic talks in Germany have reportedly produced a breakthrough in efforts to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. "We are ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments consistent with Iran also doing the same," said State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Thursday.
The normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced earlier this month is a relatively minor adjustment in relations between two countries that were never at war and have been growing closer for years, but it heralds the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict as we thought we knew it.
Early this morning a British-educated Iranian colleague I've known for 20 years messaged me on Facebook. I won't mention his name.
He's no friend of the Iranian regime, but not a staunch enemy of it either (rare among Iranian expatriates), which is one reason why I found him to be a fruitful research collaborator back in the day and have found his insights invaluable over the years.
But something seems to have changed. Here is the transcript (my colleague's messages in red) , with annotations:
|Tweets by Gary C. Gambill