In 2003, shortly after the Iranian opposition revealed the existence of Tehran’s covert nuclear program, three global powers – Germany, France and the U.K. – enlisted their efforts, along with then-EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, to persuade Iran to abandon its atomic aspirations. The Europeans called those negotiations, which lasted for three years, “critical discourse.”
What that meant, cynics quipped, was that the Europeans and Iranians were sitting down together to criticize the United States. It goes without saying that those talks ended in abject failure: The Iranians signed agreements with the Europeans, but violated them even before the ink had dried. We should have expected the Europeans to learn from their inability to cope with Iranian guile, but the Europeans excel at constantly recycling their mistakes and failures.