Small Steps

When talking about the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama has rejected the Reagan notion of “trust, but verify.” His position has been that this deal is not built on trust – but verification.

The way we will know whether or not Iran negotiated in good faith is a step by step process that will play out slowly over time. That means noticing small steps like this:

Iran has given the world’s leading nuclear watchdog information about its past nuclear activities by an agreed upon deadline, according to news reports. The move is in keeping with an agreement reached by world powers last month to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

As part of that agreement, Iran said it would provide answers to any remaining questions the international community had about its past nuclear activities, Reuters reports. The IAEA, a United Nations agency, confirmed that Iran submitted the requested information by the agreed upon deadline Saturday.

I’m not sure “trust” is an appropriate concept when talking about international relations – that’s why we have things like treaties and agreements. But if there is any chance of finding openings, it is possible that working relationships can be developed over time. The process isn’t that different from how it happens between individuals, or what is necessary to build the kinds of coalitions I was writing about earlier.

So whether you are in the process of re-building trust with someone you care about after it has been lost, or seeking to build a coalition with people you sometimes disagree with, or checking to verify if an adversary negotiated in good faith, I love the message contained in what I believe is one of the most beautiful scenes ever captured on film. Do you remember this one from The Black Stallion?

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.