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The Rosett Report

The Labor Theory of the Iran Nuclear Talks

June 24th, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Karl Marx brought us the labor theory of value, which posited that the more work you put into producing something, the greater its worth.

That turned out to be rubbish. If you build a bridge to nowhere, then no matter how much labor you have poured into the project, the bridge is useless. You could spend months digging a huge hole in the ground with a teaspoon; it would be a lot of work, but that is no guarantee that by the end you would have produced anything of value. Quite likely you would simply have squandered time, effort and better opportunities in order to dig yourself into a large hole in the ground.

So it goes for U.S. negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, who seem to be laboring under the theory that if they just work hard, and harder, and even harder, then in concert with Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, they will produce a deal that will stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Actually, it’s even muddier than that. The aim by now seems to be to leave Iran with a nuclear program, but somehow promise that there will be no Iranian bomb at the end of this rainbow, and assure the world that Iran’s nuclear program will be — in the oft-repeated words of a U.S. senior administration official — “exclusively peaceful.”

It remains a mystery how that might work in practice, or what power, precisely, might enforce this vision of “peace” buttressed by Iranian nuclear facilities. On Tuesday, senior U.S. officials gave a briefing on the Iran nuclear talks — dubbed the P5+1 negotiations — to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Following the briefing, Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the committee, released a statement noting that “many Members of the Committee are concerned about the direction of these negotiations,” the biggest concern being that they are leading to a situation in which, ultimately, “it would be very easy for Iran to produce material for nuclear weapons — on a massive scale.”

But for U.S. officials engaged in these talks, the guiding imperative seems to be some sort of labor theory of diplomacy. Never mind the direction in which this diplomatic work crew might be shuffling. The idea seems to be that if the U.S. just works hard enough, with its cohorts, to produce a deal, then the deal will surely be worth something.

By now, the P5+1 talks are becoming an industry unto themselves. The Joint Plan of Action that provides the framework for these interim negotiations was struck last November, setting a July 20th deadline for talks meant to reach a lasting and comprehensive agreement with Iran — unless they don’t, in which case the deadline might be extended to next January. The talks, hosted in Vienna, began in February, and have continued since then with monthly high-level rounds, and multiple “technical” rounds between. In other words, it is now seven months since Iran agreed to talk, and for five months all parties to this endeavor have been talking.

Yet, in a background press briefing following the most recent round, last Friday, a senior U.S. administration official — so punch drunk as to remark “I’ve lost all track of time” — was still saying “we have serious work, very serious work left to do.” That’s not for lack of work having already been done. This same U.S. official elaborated that “an enormous amount of work has gone into this by everyone — enormous.”

Top Rated Comments   
Fitting that you would bring Marx's Labor Theory into the mix, because the United Nations itself was a Marxist front since its inception. I mean, most of the founders, including Alger Hiss, were Marxists/Communists, most of the Security Heads were Marxists, and even the entire charter was copy and pasted from the Soviet Constitution. We really need to shatter that institution. It should never have been created.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a difference between work & talk. These State Dept. blow-hards consider jacking their jaws about nothing & coming to no conclusions is work. Fools one & ALL.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
This was another great and important column, Claudia. Of course it will be ignored in the MSM and probably not even garner many comments at PJM. It's a great and sad puzzle to me that the "civilized world" can't bear to stop hitting the snooze button on Iran.

IMHO, US diplomacy re: Iran has an equivalent mission to that of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen: run out the clock to avoid embarrassing the administration, http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/06/24/congress-wont-get-anywhere-on-the-irs-investigation-with-john-koskinen/.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Greetings:

Allow me to allay your fears, my good woman. Ms. Catherine Ashston is on the case having utilized her "Get Out of Ukraine Free" by handing that tar-baby off to President Obama, another paragon of geopolitical incompetence. In my mellower moments, I like to think of her as having all the competence of Hillary Clinton without the burden of the latter's good looks.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another Saudi chicken- Khomeini- coming home to roost.
If only they'd stop paying these Frankensteins to go somewhere else.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Saudi chicken- Khomeini" - A bit backwards. Saudi support for Sunni Islamist radicals grew significantly after Khomeini, with his doctrine of radical Shia Islamism, took power in 1979. This is not surprising given that the Iranians are only a sort distance from the oil fields of Eastern KSA, a region w/a significant Shia population.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Karl Marx brought us the labor theory of value, which posited that the more work you put into producing something, the greater its worth.

That turned out to be rubbish."

This is a hard concept to understand. It goes against pre-concieved ideals.

I remember having a hard time in 1st semester physics. Work is defined as works times distance.

For example, you can expend a all sort of energy trying to move an a boulder, but if you budge it not an inch, you have done no work. Well that does not make sense I said. I eventually got over it and now I understand.

But can you now understand a humanities major liking Marxists theory? These people are delusional like I was (just a little).
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
I had a hard time with some of the equations, but not the concepts....

My Physics teacher would have said after "expending" all that energy, you "accomplished" no work...

You know, like that fat smelly Marx Guy?
Mooching off Engles Family fortune, B.S.ing his way to one free meal after the other, without ever producing a single thing of any tangable value, to anyone, EVER?
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fitting that you would bring Marx's Labor Theory into the mix, because the United Nations itself was a Marxist front since its inception. I mean, most of the founders, including Alger Hiss, were Marxists/Communists, most of the Security Heads were Marxists, and even the entire charter was copy and pasted from the Soviet Constitution. We really need to shatter that institution. It should never have been created.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
These negotiators and their "process" remind me of a wonderful Jim Henson kids show back in the 80s on Showtime called "Fraggle Rock". It was set in a mythical cave system inhabited by three kinds of characters - Fraggles who lived in the cave, Monsters who lived outside the mouth of the cave, and Doozers - little guys in hard hats whose sole life work was to construct structures out of hard candy, which the Fraggles ate as their main food supply.

The Doozers were quite happy to have the Fraggles tear down their newly-built hard candy structures and eat them, because that meant that the Doozers could go back and build more, so that the Fraggles could again tear them down and eat them, meaning the Doozers could ....

4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a difference between work & talk. These State Dept. blow-hards consider jacking their jaws about nothing & coming to no conclusions is work. Fools one & ALL.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
The vaguaries are about as nebulous as usual. "We need to be doing lots more of what we have been doing." How much more do you say? Lots more! They say, and right away.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
This was another great and important column, Claudia. Of course it will be ignored in the MSM and probably not even garner many comments at PJM. It's a great and sad puzzle to me that the "civilized world" can't bear to stop hitting the snooze button on Iran.

IMHO, US diplomacy re: Iran has an equivalent mission to that of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen: run out the clock to avoid embarrassing the administration, http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/06/24/congress-wont-get-anywhere-on-the-irs-investigation-with-john-koskinen/.
4 weeks ago
4 weeks ago Link To Comment
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