Within the flood of information surrounding the Iran deal, Dennis Jett would like to offer a raft.
The Congregation Beth Shalom member and former career diplomat recently authored a book examining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (more commonly known as the Iran deal or the Iran nuclear deal). Published by Palgrave Macmillan, “The Iran Nuclear Deal: Bombs, Bureaucrats and Billionaires” explores the myriad influences upon those involved in cementing the agreement.
As Jett establishes early in the 481-page text, the debate over the Iran deal represents the realities of foreign policy.
“Money, technology, truth, partisan politics and globalization” — none of which is a particularly new factor, he explains — augmented the decision-making done by representatives of the United States government.
Specifically, the coalescence of Super PACs and lobbyists, the internet’s facilitation for mass dissemination, the rise in polarizing political views, individuals with disregard for veracity and the weakening impact of sanctions constrained the abilities of those principally involved in negotiations.
Within the book, Jett explicates each faction (or distraction) associated with the agreement.
Beginning with a brief history of the policies and politics surrounding the July 2015 pact reached between the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) and Iran, Jett describes the principal actors, both supporting and opposing the enterprise. He identifies the finances driving their decisions and the technological means with which these parties propagated their messages.
Through constant reminders that domestic dialogue has devolved, Jett imparts that falsehoods and misrepresentations were largely uttered to sway public and private opinion. Finally, despite the deal’s conclusion nearly two-and-a-half years ago, Jett suggests that these influences and influencers continue to wreak havoc.
Jett is professor of international affairs and a founding faculty member at the School of International Affairs at Pennsylvania State University. His writing reflects this professional fact, as “The Iran Nuclear Deal” feels like material plucked from a university syllabus. With regular excerpts and endnotes, Jett’s work reveals great effort to substantiate its various claims.
While this tactic is appreciated, similarly enjoyable are the intermittent inclusions of the author’s own narrative. Apart from operating as an academician, Jett spent nearly three decades in the State Department, worked on the National Security Council and was ambassador to Peru and Mozambique.
As he alludes, these experiences yielded firsthand perspective on the subtleties of diplomatic maneuvering and negotiations. Granting readers greater insight into his prior orchestrations as an international wheel greaser may have familiarized the subject more.
With that said, the text offered is the product of a professor well versed in the scholarly venture of research and publication. In likening the work to a college course, despite access to the informality of office hours, the lecture is informative.
For those interested in a detailed recitation of resources, “The Iran Nuclear Deal” should please given its thorough analysis of the problems plaguing not only this particular accord, but also future diplomatic negotiations. PJC
The Iran Nuclear Deal: Bombs, Bureaucrats, and Billionaires by Dennis C. Jett, 481 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2018 edition (October 20, 2017)
$39.99 | Paperback Edition
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz