At the mature and confident age of 6, your humble correspondent launched his business career by persuading his parents to give him the family’s entire pile of discarded issues of Life, Time, and other magazines, to enable him to cart them down to the corner at the end of our block and set up shop on a card table, to sell the magazines for whatever they would bring in cash. Only one rule: I was not, under any circumstances, to cross the street. After two discouraging hours without a single sale, suddenly, as if by magic, a much-older boy appeared, inquired about my business, pondered, then made a fabulous offer: As he was old enough to cross the streets and move about the neighborhood to locations with more pedestrian traffic, he would take my magazines, look around for better locations, sell the magazines for me, and return in a couple of hours and split the profits with me. What a deal! I accepted immediately.
Well, I waited until nightfall, and then returned again at the same time every day for weeks. Now, several decades have passed. Still, the older boy has never returned with either my magazines or my money. I finally had to face the truth: I had delivered to a stranger everything I had to give, in exchange for an attractive promise of future benefits . I had been swindled.
Which brings me to President Obama and Iran. It seems we have given Iran the only valuable thing we had to give (a prompt removal of an effective set of economic sanctions, which would be extraordinarily difficult to fully reinstate) in return for a set of promises of future actions, promises so vague and insubstantial and loaded with loopholes that one must wonder what kind of person could trust them or consider them attractive.