Ayatollahs Jump for Joy

At the recent United Nations General Assembly there was one person who appeared noticeably happier than the rest, especially in comparison with the rather glum Europeans. It was Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. He positively beamed with pleasure and good humor. While his speech was harsh, containing terms such as “economic terrorism” and “international piracy,” of which he accused the Washington regime, his entire demeanor belied pure joy. Along the way, he dashed Boris Johnson’s hopes of brokering a rapprochement between Iran and the Washingtonians, clearly seeing any further attempts at negotiation with them as utterly pointless.

Rouhani is certainly not alone in espousing this position, although he may be unique among national leaders in doing so openly. The Chinese have been dragging out trade negotiations without any intention to actually reach an agreement. The Russians see arms control negotiations with the Washingtonians as rather pointless, promising a symmetrical (but much cheaper) response to any US escalation.

Indeed, what’s the point in negotiating with Americans if, as experience has shown, they can later renege on whatever agreement has been reached on a moment’s notice? They do so either without any justification (as was most recently the case with the Syrian Kurds) or based on any sort of whimsy that happens to sound good to them at the time (as with the abandonment of the INF treaty between the US and Russia).

This point still seems worth repeating a few more times, although it has been made many times by numerous analysts and is becoming rather glaringly obvious. (The Russians even coined a new word to describe this condition: недоговороспособный (“nedogovorosposóbny,” literally “non-agreement-capable.”) But there is another point to be made, which most geopolitical observers so far seem to be missing, and which, by the way, explains Rouhani’s joyful mood at the UN, and which I am equally happy to make.

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