Tisha B’Av: Mourning, Reflection, and Future

Every year, on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, the Jewish people fast and mourn.  This year, we are fasting, and mourning, on the tenth day of Av, because the ninth day was Shabbat – and on Shabbat, we do not fast or mourn.  On this day (like on Yom Kippur), we do not wash, wear leather shoes, or use creams.  Think about not showering when it is forty degrees Celsius outside.  Think about how awful the pit in your stomach would have to be, for you to do it.

Ten years ago, those living in Gush Katif, and northern parts of the Shomron, were expelled from their homes.  They were promised land, and houses, and help resettling; they were given caravans, that they stayed in until they could afford better.  Ten years later, there are still families that have not been able to rebuild.  Many of those expelled were farmers, and found it hard to integrate into the job market.  They were forced out of their homes, and made to build their lives from scratch.

It is hard to imagine what being forced out of your home means.  Many of the communities have stayed together, hoping to resettle together and maintain some semblance of normalcy.  But imagine the police coming to force you out of your home and out of your city.  You have no job, no home, no money, no schools for your children.  You have nothing.  They pick you up from your home in Maine, and move you to Oregon, giving you a caravan, and expecting you to start over.

Ten years later, that “be niceexperiment has proven to be an utter disaster.  From the very beginning, we saw that it would not work; the first thing that the Arabs did was not to take over the existing structures, but to burn all the synagogues down to the ground.  If you remember, today they are claiming that they have no homes and no infrastructure.  Why is that?  They were handed everything on a silver platter – places of worship to renovate, schools, community centers, pools, theaters, farms, greenhouses, hothouses – everything.  Everything was burned, ransacked, or used for terror activity.  This was their choice, not ours.

And from there, they used all the humanitarian aid (that they wouldn’t have needed if they were truly homeless refugees looking for permanent homes) to build tunnels and shoot rockets.  Some of the expellees were expelled from Yamit, in Sinai, and went to live in Gush Katif at the direction of Ariel Sharon – the very man who later expelled them a second time.  And all this, why?

So that we could fight Operation Cast Lead (Oferet Yetzuka, 2008), Operation Defensive Shield (Amud Anan, 2012), and Operation Protective Edge (Tzuk Eitan, 2014).

So that we could get thousands of rockets fired at us; towards Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be’er Sheva, Lod, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Mitzpe Ramon; Hertzliya.

So that we would have to worry about not hurting the human shields that the terrorist regime uses to protect itself, even though many of those human shields are future terrorists or wives of terrorists.  Would you pity Osama bin Laden’s wife?  Then why do you pity the wives of Islamic Jihad terrorists?  Why is Islamic Jihad, or Hamas, different from Al Qaeda?

Now, on Tisha B’Av ten years later, we are living in the ominous shadow of an Iran deal.  No matter what we do or don’t do, we are in trouble.  “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”  (Excuse my language, please.)  If we wait, we are in trouble, because by September, Iran may be able to defend itself.  If we don’t wait, we will be accused of not giving Iran a fair chance.  If Congress decides against the deal, well, dontcha know, it’s Israel’s fault.

But when Saudia Arabia and Israel agree, you know that something is up, and that it’s serious.

I won’t give away any of Israel’s theoretical plans by writing them on the internet.  I will just say that Yitzchak and I have full faith that Israel can deal with an Iranian nuclear threat, provided that we do not wait until they actually have nukes, and provided that we have cooperation from certain countries.  I will also say, that at least two of the four countries that we would like to have helping us, will help us.

This does not mean that we have nukes, because of course we do not have nukes.  But we do have an extremely smart army, and the worst person to fight is one who has nothing to lose, because if he has nothing to lose, he will fight to the death.  We believe that the reason all of the recent wars have been such utter failures, is that we knew that we could scare our enemies without hurting them.  We tried to be as nice and humane as possible.

But I need to tell you: If Israel is forced to deal with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah all at once, we will not have the ability to be patient or humane.  We will do what needs to be done, quickly and efficiently, and spare no lives but our own.  We will carpet bomb Gaza, if necessary, and take out Hezbollah’s stock of chemical weapons; we will cripple Iran’s nuclear and military infrastructure so that they have no hope of retaliation of any sort, and we will do it all in a way that ensures that World War Three does not break out with all the “civilized” Western countries coming to “innocent” Iran’s defense.

Because if it is a question of fight or die, we will fight.

The world is turning Israel into some kind of inhumane monster, responsible for all the world’s ills.  We, as Jews, who have survived centuries of persecution, and have not yet forgotten the Holocaust, hear a familiar ring to these words.  We, as Jews, hear Jew-blaming as a lead-up to pogroms.  We, as Jews, see the rise in anti-Semitism the world over, and know that our only hope is in the Jewish army that G-d has given us, in the land that G-d has given us.

Because we know that the world cannot be counted on.

And therefore, we have been keeping up with Iran’s abilities, and have been setting them back, successfully, for as long as we could.  When it comes down to it, we will finish them off.  And as soon as we do, we will see another war with Gaza, in retaliation, and we will retake Gaza.  We will have to fight Hezbollah, and we will cow them into putting their energies into their fights in Syria.  Let the Muslims kill each other, and the world will be a better place for it.  We will put a halt to the intifada that is happening at this moment, because we will simply not have the ability to ignore it or deal with it in a nice way – so, we will deal with it any way that works, no matter how brutal.

Because no matter how humane Israel is, as a people, as a nation, as a country, if we are forced into a glaringly obvious fight for our lives, we will decimate our enemies’ ranks.  And when we stand up for ourselves, G-d is with us.  When we are cowards and think that we can manage on our own, G-d lets us try it out.

This is not new.  This is thousands of years old.

The Persian Jews thought they could make Achasverosh their friend; they were nearly killed.  During the Greek rule, they thought that the closer they were to Greek culture, the better they would be treated.  Under Nazi regime, the thought that assimilation was a solution, was disproven; the solution was hide, leave, or be sent to the camps.  And now, the solution is either fight like we mean it, or be crushed.

All I can hope is that we will see the intifada for what it is, and fight instead of allowing ourselves to be crushed.  About Iran – and Gaza, if necessary – I have no doubts.  We will fight; we will not be crushed.

Today iis Tisha B’Av.  Today, we mourn the loss of both Holy Temples (Batei Mikdash), the martyrs of our nation, the pogroms, the Holocaust, and the Iran deal.

Today, we pray that G-d will be with us, and Av will turn to Adar and Tisha B’Av to Purim.

Today, we pray that Israel will, very soon, deal completely and fully with all the threats surrounding us: Iran, Gaza, Hezbollah, ISIS, and (nearly worst of all) the terrorist intifada that the PA is quietly waging against us.

Amen.

Mom-life Identity Crisis

I love my job as a teacher.  I love my students, I love the challenge, I love watching them grow.  But I don’t want to put my babies in daycare.  I believe – we believe – that babies should be at home, or maximum with a much-loved babysitter, one-on-one, until they show readiness for preschool.

When Shlomo was born, I was in my last semester of college. We had a mishmash of me, Yitzchak, and my best friend.  When I started teaching, he was six months old, and I took a babysitter.  That ate up half my salary, and I worked hard and came back exhausted, with no energy for anything.  The year after that, I worked from home; towards the end of the year, I saw that he was starting to become more social and by the time summer vacation came, I knew that he needed to go to gan that September.

I found him a gan, and found myself a teaching job. Towards the beginning of this school year, I had Tova.  So, after my maternity leave was over, Yitzchak and I did another mishmash of scheduling, and staying home, and Yitzchak would take her with him, sometimes.  Now, I have the question again, but slightly different, since 9 months is different than 6 months, and Tova will be 9 months at the beginning of the school year.

And I have a problem.  If my resume shows that every time I have a baby, I take a year off to stay home . . . no one will hire me.  So, what do I do?  Do I keep teaching, or do I stay home?  If there was an option for only Yitzchak to work, and for me to stay home and just keep house, I would.  Yitzchak would too, obviously, but I’m not sure it’s good for him to be keeping house all day.  At the end of the day, intelligence, politics, and equal rights aside, it increasingly seems to us that we are a pretty traditional couple.

I also am not thrilled at the prospect of working from home again, but unless someone gives Yitzchak a miracle job that will pay all our bills AND allow us to put money aside (so that, for instance, we can buy a couch and put the sapapa in the guest room; or so that we can buy a standing oven with a stove on top, instead of having a toaster oven and a two-burner stove that sits on the counter; ah, and a carseat for Shlomo and a new stroller because ours was not a well-researched purchase, and new clothes for me every time I change size), I don’t really have a choice.

And so, dear readers, I turn to you. Does anyone on here have a steady writing, editing, or teaching job that I can do from home?  It needs to be a set number of hours a week and a steady pay[pal]check at least $1500 a month.  Ideas?  Opportunities?  Have any of you done data entry, and can recommend a reliable website?

Hey, at least my parents can’t complain that they paid thousands for my degree and here I am looking for a simple job from home.  The Israeli government paid for 3 years of my degree, and Yitzchak and I paid for the fourth, 200 shekels at a time.

Woo-woos: A Year Later

It has been a year since Tzuk Eitan (Operation Protective Edge).  In that year, since Tzuk Eitan, we have not had a single siren.  Not a single woo-woo.  We have not even told Shlomo that there have been sirens in other parts of the country.  Because in our book, when it comes, it comes.  We are going to take it day by day.

Shlomo was traumatized, as were thousands of other children living in the line of fire, and rightly so.  In the year that has passed since, we have had, off and on, obsessions with sirens.  It was more like, three months on, two months off, three months on, one month off, three months on.  We have a Childcraft set.  He continuously wants to read about the Battle of Britain, and the invention of rockets that could carry missiles.  This is his favorite topic.

Yesterday, he made a woo-woo plane out of kipodim [literally: porcupines; it is also the name of a type of building toy].  I’m not sure what the difference is between a woo-woo plane and any other plane with two engines, but it is his plane and he made it.  And he flies it while imitating the air raid siren.  Today, he “read” to me from the Childcraft about the woo-woos (Battle of Britain), and told about how the planes were fighting each other and how they have to stop making woo-woos.

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Shlomo’s woo-woo plane that he made from kipodim.

Yesterday, he told me to bring Tova to the bedroom, and “he would protect her from the shoshanim.”  When he plays, any ambulance or police or firetruck siren comes out as a woo-woo.  It may not start out that way, but that is what it becomes.

We thought that with time, the trauma would heal. We were wrong.  It has not healed for us, and it has not healed for him.  We are worse off than he is, because we read the news.  He is worse off than we are, because he senses that we are worried, but doesn’t know why.  We are always worried, though, so maybe he doesn’t think it out of the ordinary anymore.  Parents are always worried, I think.  Perhaps it is just par for the course.

Shlomo also went through two sirens during Amud Anan (Operation Pillar of Defense).  He didn’t forget those, either, and when we moved here, we realized that he had simply thought we were done with them.  I think he felt let down when he realized the sirens were back.  We have taught him to differentiate between practice drills or remembrance sirens, and real sirens.  Mostly, by warning him, and when applicable, telling him that it wouldn’t go up and down.  Then “he” made the siren and it wasn’t a real siren, nobody was trying to hurt us.

When Yitzchak and I read yesterday morning that the Iran deal signed by [Obama] Bin Laden and the rest of P5+1 included a clause in which the West would train Iran to block Israeli strikes, we were left reeling.  It’s not that we don’t think Israel can and will preempt Iran’s training.  It’s not that we don’t believe that Israel can deal with Iran’s having S-300.  It’s that, well, we were expecting Israel to strike soon, but not that soon.  We were debating if it would be smarter for Israel to strike now, or to wait to hear what Congress has to say about the deal.  But maybe now Israel doesn’t have a choice.  One thing is sure:

Someone is going to strike, with nuclear, biological, or conventional weapons, someone else, and very soon.  And the woo-woos will probably be back, hopefully, probably, only conventional woo-woos.

For the sake of the entire free world, we hope that Israel will wipe Iran off of the map, and not the other way around.

My Newest Obsession: Antarctica

This post was written on April 24, 2015.  I didn’t publish it then, because it needed a few tweaks.  Later, I didn’t publish it because life got hectic, and Antarctica was the furthest thing from my mind – besides for the fact that I was glad, at that point, that we live in a regular, civilized country.

Probably, you have already read about my Antarctica joke.  It goes like this:

Oh, no, X/Y/Z happened.  This world is such an awful, scary place.  I don’t know why I want to live in it, and I seriously don’t know why I am bringing another kid/ want to bring more kids into it.  Ugh.  It’s not safe in Israel, but at least here it’s more safe than other places, and we have a government and an army that doesn’t stick their heads into the sand.  If I thought there was a safer place, I’d go, but I don’t think any country is safe now . . . there’s really nowhere you can live safely . . .

Hey, wait! We can move to Antarctica!

Except that Yitzchak always pops the bubble:

Antarctica will suffer the after-effects of nukes in other places, just like every other country will, he says.

In twenty years, Antarctica will be the center of a major war, as every country tries to stake its claim, when the weather warms up and the land becomes habitable (there’s a treaty until 2048, maybe it will be extended?).

We would have sun six months out of the year, and we would have to accept Shabbat at one in the afternoon sometimes.  On the other hand, Shabbat would end at one in the afternoon – nice, but it makes the day pretty rushed, with barely enough time to daven and do kiddush.

Hmmm, there’s no mikva, and the snow doesn’t sound too nice.

At one point, he tried to scare me by telling me that it wasn’t exactly a safe place for women, because half the researchers are single guys who haven’t seen a woman in years.  Turns out, there are families there, too.

Our heating bill will be outrageous . . .

And so on . . .

But as we come closer to understanding that Iran will be allowed to get nukes, as far as Obama is concerned, and Putin has no issues giving Iran the tools to help them defend their nuclear reactor – and North Korea continues to help them develop nuclear weapons;

and as I hear more and more often about kidnappings, shootings, and who knows what;

and as we start and stop, start and stop, the task of getting rid of Hamas;

I’ve started to think that it’s better just to pick up and move.

To Antarctica.

Yes, seriously.

Now all I have to do is convince Yitzchak.

What Would YOU Do?

This video allows you to take the pilot’s seat and decide whether to continue the mission that the IDF sent you on, or to abort it.  I ask each of you to watch the video and try to decide what you would do, if you had been the pilot in that particular mission.

Israel has the most humane army in the world.  We go beyond the letter of the law, putting ourselves at risk, so as not to hurt Muslim women and children, and any other innocent civilians, who are being used as human shields to protect the very terrorists who aim to kill us – and who have killed hundreds of innocent men, women, children, and babies.

What would YOU do?  Would you be as humane as Israel?  Or would you do the logical thing, and kill the terrorists while you had the chance, regardless of who they were hiding behind?

Some Questions for Kerry

Kerry says that Netanyahu’s comments on Iran are over the top.

After watching this clip, I have a few questions for him.

1. How can you have easy, unlimited access if you first have to go through the process of asking and getting permission?  What does it help to have so many inspectors, if they can’t spontaneously inspect the facilities?

2. How was Netanyahu wrong on the interim deal?  You say he was wrong, but don’t say how.  What did Netanyahu say that was “over the top”?  You are full of talk, empty of content.

3. The critics of your plan offer 2 simple alternatives: 1. Give Iran an ultimatum – either dismantle, or be nuked.  What’s so difficult?  Why isn’t war an option?  You’ve had plenty of time to prepare, and pushing the war off will only make the situation worse.  2. Keep tightening sanctions until Iran dismantles its nuclear facilities entirely, and signs a two-line agreement that states this: That it is understood that if Iran ever attempts to open a nuclear facility again, they will be nuked promptly within the month, and the entire country leveled.  Very, very simple.

4. Now that the text of the agreement has been released, how can you continue to accuse Netanyahu of not knowing the exact terms contained within it?

5. Why do you think that Iran can be trusted now, if they have never kept agreements in the past?  Um, oops.  You seem to think the same of Hamas.  Are these Muslims bribing you or dosing you?  Or are you perhaps a natural-born, bona fide idiot?

Historical Moment: P5+1 and Iran Sign Deal

Yesterday was a day of historical importance.  Just like it was meant to be.  Mission accomplished: The names of those signing the deal were sealed forever in the annals of history, and will be forever mentioned history textbooks throughout the world.  What exactly those books will say remains to be seen, and is quite questionable.  Nevertheless, the goal was to make history and leave a legacy, and this has been accomplished.

I don’t know the specifics of the deal (update: you can find them here), but I do know that you agreed that inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities can be refused or delayed at Iran’s will, and it isn’t even going to be spontaneous – ever.  You caved on the one thing that means everything.  Iran promises to provide answers by the end of 2015 . . . what answers?  Why can’t they be provided now?  How do you know that Iran will actually follow through?  Iran has just been given 5 months to think of believable lies and how to cover the truth.  This deal is a victory for Iran and radical Shiite governments, and a dangerous, embarrassing surrender for everyone else.

This really makes me glad that Israel is not part of P5+1, or any nuclear power agreements: we would not have been able to prevent such an agreement from being signed.  (Obviously, Israel as of now does not have nukes, so this what-if is pretty moot.)  Thankfully, Israel also never agreed to support or recognize such a treaty.  From our point of view,  Europe might have agreed to sell our lives (Chamberlain, anyone?), but that is irrelevant to us, because we did not agree.

And so I am not afraid of Iran, because for all the government of Israel has its issues – and believe me, it has a lot of them – this is one line that nobody will cross, one thing that everybody agrees on.  And so . . .  Israel will take care of Iran.

But little countries need to keep big friends, so I’m guessing that we already have, or are about to have, either Russia or China standing behind us, to make sure that we don’t get nuked in the process.  Also, as much as Obama bin Laden would like to think otherwise, he can’t really afford to lose our cooperation.  Sooo . . . I don’t think we’re about to be nuked for taking out Iran’s nukes.

Pakistan’s nukes are for India and India’s nukes are for Pakistan.  Russia’s nukes are for America, and America’s nukes are for Russia.  North Korea is a threat, not only because of their views on Israel, but because they provide “under-the-table,” as it were, nukes and nuclear technology to dangerous, unstable countries.  Iran’s future nukes . . . are for Israel to prevent, so that North Korea II doesn’t end up happening.

If most of the American public is against a deal with Iran, how did Obama manage to sign a treaty that goes against the will of the electorate?  It absolutely floors me.  But then again, he’s not up for re-election, so why shouldn’t he do what he wants?

As of now, Congress has 60 days to go over the treaty.  Hopefully, they will veto it; to do so, they need a majority of two-thirds, or 67 senators.  Will they veto it?  Does it even matter?  Are sanctions going to be kept until Congress makes its decision?  Does it even matter?  (Yes, it does.)

Here’s what Naftali Bennett has to say on the matter.

Is it Okay to Decide Others’ Fates?

nuclear weapons, nukes, nuclear warheads, nuclear missiles, nuclear bombs, hiroshima, nagasaki, iran, iran nuclear deal, nuclear proliferation treaty, israel, iran, p5+1, america, obama, kerryRegarding Iran, suddenly I realized something. Most non-Shiite countries in the Middle East, most prominently Saudi Arabia and Israel, are mad about the deal that P5+1 have signed with Iran.  It’s not just us. And what I realized today was this question:

What right do Obama, and the leaders of Europe have, to decide what happens in our neighborhood?  We are the ones most directly affected; why shouldn’t we be the ones making the decisions?

It’s like this: Imagine if Israel suddenly decided that anyone living in New York who wanted to own a weapon had to pass Israeli security standards.  No one else would be allowed to own weapons, not even police officers.  Only people that Israel chose would have weapons, and only they would be allowed to make decisions on the subject.  How would New Yorkers feel?  How would America feel?  What right does Israel have to decide who is allowed to bear arms in a country that isn’t theirs, and is so far away from them?

Yes, it’s true that guns in New York could possibly hurt Israel, or Israelis abroad.  It’s also true that Iranian nuclear missiles can (and will, if Iran gets the chance) hurt Americans and Europeans.  However, they are not the ones facing the greatest, and most immediate danger: a radical Muslim country, in their neighborhood, with nuclear weapons and no common sense or humanity to match.

Tell me, world: What right do you have to decide what goes on in our neighborhood, without consulting us, and against our wishes?  Note that not one of the P5+1 is actually a Middle Eastern country.  Not one.

What right do America and Europe have, to make our decisions for us?

Gun Control USA: Is It Possible?

Everyone is aware of the fact that America has lax gun control laws, and unfortunately, we see the results of this too often.  Many are the parents who rally for better gun control laws, but do they know what that means?  Have they thought about how that might be implemented?  While we were on the bus coming home after Shabbat last week, I put some thought into the issue and then started discussing it with Yitzchak.  Here, I write about a few of the possible issues that may come up.

Let’s say that starting from tomorrow, no one can buy a gun without a license.  This means that there is a consolidated database (which there isn’t), that goes by social security number, and you would have to register the gun not only under your name, but also under your social security number, and it would be illegal to resell the gun privately.  All providers would have to be licensed, and preferably have security guards to prevent fraud, theft, and threats.  Suffice it to say, just convincing Americans to make such a consolidated database will be extraordinarily difficult, with most complaining that Uncle Sam has no right to know any private information on them.

Then, we have to deal with the black market.  The black market solves the problem of those who already have guns, being able to buy more ammunition, even if they are not licensed. Now, let’s say we’ve reached the point of nobody being able to buy guns or ammunition, except on the black market.  That’s very nice, but the black market is in many ways worse than the open market.  What are we going to do?  Well, the solution would be to crack down on it.  How?  The main strategy would obviously be controlling imports; however, some ammunition can be bought locally, some will be stolen, and some can (unfortunately) be made at home.  So, this doesn’t solve the entire issue.

But we haven’t yet dealt with the fact that even if no one can buy new guns or ammunition (which, as I wrote above, is not something that can happen tomorrow, without major changes to American mindset), we still have the big problem of existing gun owners, who have ammunition.  What do we do with them?  Do we even know who they are? In many cases, yes, we do know who they are.  But in about 5% (and don’t quote the number, because it’s Yitzchak’s estimate) of cases, we don’t.  And in my opinion, those 5% are probably the most dangerous of all gun owners.  If 5% sounds small, think about it this way: It means at least two million people have guns, and we don’t know who they are or that they have guns.

Let’s talk about the other 95%.  According to Yitzchak, most gun owners live in perpetual fear that someone will come in one day to take away their guns, and therefore, they make sure to divert media attention from guns to mental illness, as well as protect and hide their guns (but not enough, as is indicated by the fact that sometimes guns get into the wrong hands, even though the owner bought it legally).  Back to the topic.  How do we round up the guns that we are aware of, and possibly those that we are not aware of?  The only real answer is to go door-to-door.  But there is an issue: In today’s world of WhatsDown, Fakebook, and text messages, it’s pretty easy to tell your friend that your gun was taken away, and then your friend can hide his, or stash it with someone whose house was already searched – or, of course, just hide it somewhere else.  That’s without getting into the issue that we are talking about guns, and therefore, those who are rounding them up are in possible danger.  Plus, if Americans don’t want a database for healthcare or gun control, why would they agree to have their houses searched, even in the interests of preventing school shootings?  Not likely to go over well, huh?

Of course, there is a solution: Turn off all the electricity in the country, down all cellphone towers, and search the entire country at once.  But, we don’t have enough manpower for that, and the moment we would try, people would suspect that something is up. In short, unfortunately, better gun control laws in America are not something that seems possible in the forseeable future. How it got that way, and how we could – theoretically – allow only sane, safe people to own guns, are topics for a different post, if you are interested.guns, gun control laws, gun policy, american gun control. mass murders, shootings, school shootings, danger, gun statistics

Obama’s Dangerous Iran Deal

I write about politics, yes.  But I don’t usually mention the possibility of Iran turning nuclear.  I try not to think about Iran, because it scares me.  It would be called burying my head in the sand, except that Yitzchak makes very certain to keep up with any sort of news on the subject.  So I told him a while ago to tell me ONLY what I need to know, and what affects my everyday life, and the rest of it to keep to himself.  Which he does, kind of.  I still have to tell him sometimes that, “I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT,” but other times he just speaks to his Dad.  That’s what Dads are for, right?

But at the moment, I feel like I can’t just ignore the topic.  And so I turn the computer over to Yitzchak, who will write what he likes, without telling me about it.

What can I say? In the middle east, there is no such thing as negotiating in “good faith”. Mostly because there is no relevance between “faith” and “negotiations” (it’s rather equivalent to “military intelligence” in that both are a contradiction in terms). Iran is in this deal because they see it as an opportunity to get rid of sanctions, and no other reason; in this case “negotiations” are a means of removing sanctions, without giving up what they want. “Compromise” is not a goal here, it is a contest, the winner being the one who dupes the other into thinking that he won the deal. Hence, for all of our good secular liberal arts education, we’re probably at a worse vantage point for appreciating the cross cultural exchange than if we were, say, some ignorant redneck in Eastern Kentucky with a pickup truck on cinder blocks in his front yard, and a loaded shotgun resting on his door post.

If Kerry were culturally informed, he would forget about a “happy compromise” and stick to the cultural standard. However they are pursuing a “Legacy”. In my opinion, saying that the negotiations failed is not a problem. It is a courageous act, stating to the world “we tried, and it didn’t work”, and by no means does it not mean that we can’t order the SSBNs in the Persian Gulf to open fire when the “time limit” runs out (a deadline should mean something shouldn’t it? we’re the ones in power here).

In my opinion, seeking nuclear weapons should be punished by being a victim of the self same weapons. (And don’t bring me Israel, we had nuclear weapons before the NPT and gave them to France, itself a nuclear weapon power on the NPT; so if we go, so do the Frenchies, not that it bothers me that much.)