In the Arena

How Diplomacy Works–Cont.

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It may be premature, but it seems to me that President Obama’s nuclear summit has yielded some very important diplomatic progress. Yes, the Indians and Pakistanis are still involved in their brotherly insanity, and yes, both Iran and North Korea are still international outlaws. But Ukraine has agreed to give up its highly enriched uranium (heu), a very important development–since the possibility that members of the former Soviet Union might sell their fissile material to the wrong people–or, more likely, have it stolen–has been a great fear of the post-cold war era.

Most important, though, is the apparent progress in getting the Russians and Chinese to agree to a new round of sanctions against the Iranian regime:

“The two presidents [Obama and Hu Jintao] agreed that the two delegations should work on a sanctions resolution in New York, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, the National Security Council’s senior director for Asian affairs. The Chinese, he said, “made clear that they are prepared to work with us.”

These slow steps toward cooperation–after eight years of American neo-cowboyism–are how diplomacy begins. If it works and an atmosphere of mutual trust is created, larger steps become possible. For the moment, however, the President’s nuclear summit seems a good week’s job of work.