So the calendar reads August 22, 2006, which was the long-anticipated day of reckoning for Iran with respect to its nuclear ambitions. Or, not.
The Iranians offered their response to the package of incentives offered by the West today, saying little and remaining ambiguous by design.
You can read all the, uh, riveting ambiguity here.
While Iran's negotiator indicated that they were prepared for serious talks as early as tomorrow, the Iranians have also intimated that they will not, repeat, not, give up their nuclear development program(s). This leaves us exactly where we were a week ago, two months ago, six months ago (you get the idea). Nothing has changed except the Iranians have altered the game.
We're now faced with a foot-dragging international community that will earnestly desire to debate the possible next steps with Iran (meanwhile, under 50 feet of concrete in the Iranian wasteland, scientists are not, repeat, not, taking the day off, and will continue to work on enriching uranium). In Iran's game of brinkmanship, they are hoping to delay, divide, and develop.
We're now in the delay phase, during which western powers and our friends Russia and China will wring our hands somberly over how to proceed with Iran. We will hear numerous accounts of how sincere the Iranians are.
The divide phase follows shortly after the delay phase. This is where Iran and her sympathizers will attempt to - and probably succeed - divide the UN Security Council, well-known for its collegial atmosphere and ability to "get things done." And of course, the endgame is de facto development.
When Iran can say "we have the bomb" a large percentage of the international community and even some well-meaning Americans will insist that Iran must thereafter be treated differently - after all, they have the bomb.
What these useful idiots don't understand is that Iran will use the bomb, or, sell it to someone who will. This won't be a rematch of the chess game that was the Cold War, despite this being the fantasy of every liberal America-hater (who are dying to shout: Finally! The Empire gets its comeuppance! Now we'll see how the Cowboy handles this one.). Instead, we will be dealing with an adversary that plays by a different set of rules, contrary to everything we think we know about human nature. This enemy desires mass murder, and, as a bonus, martyrdom; the threat of being killed in a retaliatory strike brings them no fear, or possibly, happiness.
We're entering a period of time in which inaction endangers our way of life. The difference between this standoff and the Cold War is that conservatives won't have the pleasure of telling liberals "we told you so."