We still fail to learn from history.
The US is about to engage the Iranian mullahcracy in talks to see if we can talk them out of building nuclear weapons.
Two things: first, put yourself in the Mullahs' slippers. Are you going to give up the chance to control the entire Middle East by granting concessions to the Great Satan? The answer is NO, Foggy Bottom.
The other thing is history. If you open any historical text referencing past eras in the Middle East, you will note that the only change that has ever been achieved there, ever since Alexander the Great, has been achieved via the application of force, not by negotiating with dissembling Arabs, or Persians.
You will note, buried in the paragraphs of said history, that the leaders in the Middle East are expert, even schooled, in the fine art of delay and dissembling. We should EXPECT them to lie, delay, and offer us blind hope, because they will.
A realist might engage in such talks, but keep the SpecFor teams working to get us the intelligence on locations and security of nuke installations, so that our eventual strike at those facilities will succeed.
I don't think our President is very realistic, however. His military is led by dreamers of impossible dreams, and tossing this bone to the EU, which dragooned us into the talks, and the liberals, who want to do ANYTHING but fight, has been a major mistake.
Bush built a reputation of not dealing with the Arab dissemblers, but allowing the Marines to do his talking. He was correct, as far as he went. Unfortunately, his proper application of force seems to be consigned to the history books now, and we have little hope of him maintaining his Big Stick policy over in the Sandbox.