Anyone pursuing a career in international relations should be happy to know that they are at the very least alive at a very exciting time when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.
The Middle East has long been a hotbed of political rivalries and tensions related to everything from Arab and American relationships with Israel, the development of nuclear weapons by nations like Iran, and the allocation of natural resources prevalent in the region.
Several of these issues have come to a head in the last week in the wake of a new Iranian nuclear deal that will soon pass through Congress on its way to full approval. This new deal will allow Iran to begin the development of internationally sanctioned nuclear programs. There has been some fear in the international community, especially in Israel, that Iran would take advantage of this and begin developing weapons instead of using the nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The deal outlines a series of requirements that Iran will have to meet over the next 8 years that will allow for sanctions on its nuclear program to be progressively removed assuming they are not found to be developing weapons. It was not as freeing as Iran hoped, nor as restrictive as the U.S. would have liked. Regardless, Iran being able to develop nuclear technology will have major repercussions on international relations in the Middle East for years to come.
However, ambassadors and other diplomats will not be the only ones to notice the difference. At home, Israel is lobbying congressman to veto the deal in the hopes of procuring more restrictive measures on Iran.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter met face to face with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. The atmosphere lacked the usual fanfare and statements of mutual adoration that have been common during visits to Israel. In fact, their meeting was held behind closed doors.
While their conversations are of course private, it can be assumed that they discussed everything from the deal in Iran and Israeli lobbyists in Congress, to the U.S.’s continued diplomatic military support of the Israeli people.
This complicated issue has diplomats spanning continents in an attempt to appease all the parties involved, and will continue to top the headlines long after the deal is passed or vetoed through Congress.