It turns out “the boy who cried ‘wolf!’” was a mysterious character. What was he crying wolf for? Why was he falsely claiming his sheep were in danger?
Some say it was just to stir some excitement into a boring job. Some say the shepherd just wanted attention, or proof that his villagers cared enough about him to rush to his rescue. But most think his disastrous prank had to do with nothing more than lying vainglory. The shepherd wanted to pose as a hero fighting off a dangerous animal intruder, which, of course, never existed.
The bottom line is, after 3 times being revealed as a liar, the boy was left unaided when a real wolf came and ate him and his flock.
This parable was called to my mind by President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from, or perhaps more accurately, betrayal of The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran.
Why did he do it? Because he said he would? Because he had run off most of the advisors who told him not to and now he could? Because he likes being the unrestrained most powerful man in the world? Because he was bored and wanted to stir things up or because he’s terrified and needs to steer the American public away from the investigations that will soon chronicle his lifetime of lies and criminal acts and associations?
Interesting questions, but in the end, dwarfed in importance by more pertinent inquiries like –Is there a real wolf out there? Is Iran really a nuclear menace? Is the dossier of decade-old Iranian nuclear research what Bibi Netanyahu says it is – proof of Iranian deceit and evidence of an eventual Iranian nuclear armory?
Does breaking our treaty agreement and inflicting new sanctions weaken Iran or just anger it? Does breaking with our allies Great Britain, France and Germany, and the other 2 major signatories Russia and China weaken America or strengthen us?
How does reversing national policy towards Iran affect our negotiations with a real nuclear power North Korea?
Joseph Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He is the author of the new book Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s International Security Advisory Board.
His commentary has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, Kyodo News, Moscow Times, Foreign Policy, The Hill, Daily Beast, and Huffington Post. He has appeared on ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, PBS, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NHK, Russia Today, and Al Jazeera.
Cirincione worked for nine years in the US House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations. He is the author of hundreds of articles on nuclear weapons issues, the producer of two DVDs, a frequent commentator in the media, and he appeared in the films, Countdown to Zero and Why We Fight. He previously served as Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress and Director for Nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has held positions at the Henry L. Stimson Center, the US Information Agency and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He teaches at the graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.