The Greatest of Fools

Iran negotiaions: It would be funny if it weren't so tragic; it would be hysterical, if our lives didn't depend on it.

Paula R. Stern

OpEds אובמה בנאומו לאומה, הלילה
אובמה בנאומו לאומה, הלילה

The greatest of fools are not those who make mistakes - all humans make mistakes. It is part of learning, part of growing. Not only acceptable, but expected, anticipated, perhaps even preferred. Those small mistakes we make along the path of learning, often help prevent larger mistakes later on. More, those small mistakes guide our paths, if we are smart, so that we recognize when the road is wrong and learn to adjust our course. When we are smart. Sometimes this means a small adjustment; other times it means turning back completely to find the right road. As bad, perhaps even humiliating, as it can be to turn back, it can only be worse when you have to do it later on anyway.

Great fools are not fools because they make mistakes, but because they fail to learn from them. Or worse, are so set on the end of the road, they care little for what it takes to get there. They miss the important signs; the crucial hints that only disaster awaits them if they continue on this path. So great fools go on, convincing themselves if not others, that perhaps the path will get better, maybe this really isn't the wrong road entirely?

This is true from the smallest of issues to the largest; from dating and marrying, to raising children, to deciding the course of nations. Some decisions can be corrected; others are forever doomed by the misguided idea that they alone determine destiny, their own, their mate's, their nation's.

The greatest of fools, even worse than great fools, are ones who miss the signs and so fail to learn from them and then, having reached the point of disaster, fail again. Worse, knowing it is wrong and is not working, they persevere while attempting to convince others along that path that even the wrong path can be turned right.

It is at that moment that they rise from being a great fool to being the greatest of fools. They will do stupid things like pass the gas station that clearly points out is the last one for dozens of miles. They can see the tank gauge is pushing empty and they believe, despite all signs to the contrary, that they can make it to the next gas station. Or, knowing the school is wrong for their children, they refuse the obvious signs and sign them up for yet another year. Or, having invested money in something they were sure would make them rich, they invest more hoping to pull it out of the deep and endless pit they now recognize they have entered.

Israelis wondered whether it was time to elevate the fools to great fools. June would surely make the decision easier, would it not?
Or, they agree to speak to a nation that is not interested in the same goal, worse, has a far sinister goal in mind but knows it needs time. And in negotiation, you give them the time. Worse, you ease the sanctions. Worse still, you set deadline after deadline and as each approaches, a new demand comes up. They are planning the bomb right in front of your faces and still, you persevere, still you hope, still you dream.

Why, if they want a peaceful future, do they test intercontinental weapons that can carry the very bomb you are stupid enough to believe they don't want?

In July, 2014, a full year ago, a deadline was set for reaching a "comprehensive agreement" with Iran. The deadline was November, 2014.

In November, 2014, the fools came up with an idea of extending the deadline until June, but the promise of a "framework" agreement by the end of March, 2015.

March came and March went. It brought the spring, as it always does, and the beginnings of the promise that the school year would end. Children could taste freedom coming; the world could not envision an agreement with Iran despite world leaders meeting in Switzerland.

April came and a framework agreement was indeed announced, a bit late, but still worth the effort if the results would be delivered. What was delivered however, was merely a promise to end the sanctions. To increase his chance of success, Obama  catered to the Iranians further, insisting that demanding Iran recognize Israel within the confines of any deal would be a bad idea. Because, like, them having to admit tp recognizing the country they have repeatedly promised to wipe off the face of the earth with the nuclear bomb they plan to get, would be just too insulting. Damn fool.

The Europeans joined the world of fantasy by suggesting that releasing millions and billions was a "decisive step" towards…well, anything. Naturally, the Iranians were dancing in the streets. Israelis wondered whether it was time to elevate the fools to great fools. June would surely make the decision easier, would it not?

June came and the children finished school; the weather turned even hotter as it always does in June. The winter flowers began to die off; the rains of Israel over until the winter comes. What didn't happen was that comprehensive agreement. Despite talks in Vienna, nothing.

And so, on June 30, 2015, the fools became great fools, suggesting what they had failed to achieve in a year, they would achieve in a matter of days. July 9 – a firm and final date, they said. This is - was - the latest date at which the deal could be presented to Congress in order to actually lift the sanctions. July 9 came and went.

The Iranians are accusing Kerry of "psychological warfare" but that would imply a level of intelligence that sadly, I doubt Kerry has.

And, a few hours ago, one thing was accomplished in the Iran-World talks…the great fools became the greatest fools as they sat down to continue driving that car down the wrong road, miles and months from any real chance to turn this thing around. They are out of gas, out of ideas but most of all, they are out of what Jews called "saichel." The best definition of the word saichel I have found is "innate common sense."

So there you have it. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic; it would be hysterical, if our lives didn't depend on it. The Iranians are laughing their heads off, and rightly so. There is a very thin line between fools and clowns.

As for Israelis today, we are amazed. We are somewhat entertained by the thought that we were right so long ago and still the world refuses to see it. But we are also angry because every meeting, every missed deadline, brings the threat closer. While the greatest of fools have been talking, the greatest of evil has been planning.

Once the greatest of evil was a man with a master plan, a final solution. He brought the world to the brink, murdered millions. What it took him almost a decade to accomplished, can now be achieved in minutes and still the fools are blind.

With the lives of my children on the line, you dare to speak of peace and agreements with a nation that has sworn in so many languages that they want our deaths. Another deadline, and still you talk because you are, above all else, the greatest of fools.