This nonsense over the recent guidelines for a nuclear deal looks like a classic case of that most human impulse to confuse one’s hopes with reality. President Obama’s spin speaks to his hopes. He wants the American people and Congress to see an agreement that is better than they expected, to see him as tougher than they thought and more ready to serve the national interest (instead of his legacy) than they thought. Those in Tehran want to be rid of the sanctions and so they emphasize that over any uncomfortable conditions to which they may have agreed. One has to wonder if these guys can read their own languages or whether the translators did not think they were dealing with some language other than English and Farsi. It is all very embarrassing and hardly an edifying display.
The embarrassment seems to me to be well deserved. It is my guess that few on either side went into these negotiations with a deal so much in mind as how they would pose when it was done. In other words, almost no one negotiated in good faith. Little wonder then that none of the claims have anything to do with the words printed on the page or, for those who prefer technology, the words saved in the word file. Where negotiations proceed in this way, they can only end with accusations of lying leveled by all involved against everyone else. At least we can take comfort in the fact that none of them are lying about the other party’s lying.