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My view is that arguments about whether this is “a good deal” are missing the point; the point is that everyone within the time zone of sanity understands that, even in the best-case scenario, we’ve done no more than buy time. What do we plan to do with that time?
For the sake of argument, let’s take Fred Cole’s position as “the most optimistic that can be held while remaining in the time-zone of sanity.” Fred Cole asked, “And how long before they’re tired of having an Islamic republic and turn to liberal democracy?” My answer, Fred — and would you agree? — is, “We don’t know.” The assumption that everyone sooner or later wants a liberal democracy has been tested and found wanting. No one can count on this happening, no less make a confident prediction that it will happen within a given time frame.
I agree with Adam Garfinkle that this is the key point: