I think Democrats would be well advised to temper what are their unquestionably premature declarations of the Geneva Accord as a primal Middle East reset and, for the Obama administration, a foreign policy triumph. Cause for such celebration may yet come. But they should wait. A half year isn't long.
For all of the drama of late-night make-or-break talks in Geneva, the deal that Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating partners announced early on Sunday was largely a holding action, meant to keep the Iranian nuclear program in check for six months while negotiators pursue a far tougher and more lasting agreement.
"Now the difficult part starts," a former IAEA official tells the NY Times. Yet to be negotiated, as we all know, are nothing less than the fundamentals: the extent, for instance, of Iran's uranium-enrichment program, and the future of its plutonium program at Arak. Even the lifespan of a comprehensive deal is in question.
Were I to bet on the likelihood of an ultimate Obamian triumph, sure, I'd go heavy. But it is well to keep in mind that though the United States is negotiating with pragmatic religious fanatics, fanatics they remain, and they, not President Rouhani, sit at the top Iran's power structure. And there's no one so devilish as the self-sublime.
There's always that kicker to keep the cork in the champagne. Better to remember that now, rather than later, with egg on one's face. Again, a few months isn't a long time to wait.