For those commentators who took issue with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice fist-bumping a colleague during Thursday’s White House announcement of the interim Iran nuclear accord, I have a word of advice: It is time to up your meds. That the national security advisor might be feeling good following the administration’s tireless and thus far seemingly successful effort to employ diplomacy to defang Tehran’s nuclear weapons development efforts is perfectly natural. Heck, Bill Clinton and his first national security advisor, Tony Lake, smoked a victory stogie after the rescue of a single flier in the former Yugoslavia, an event so comparatively inconsequential that Owen Wilson was selected to portray the pilot in the forgettable movie based on it.
Besides, Rice & Company have not had all that much to celebrate recently. They deserved to savor this moment, even if that is precisely what it was — a moment that will extend into a positive step forward along a long, twisting path through some of the most complex and challenging terrain in the world. The White House’s management of Thursday’s announcement was, to its credit, well orchestrated, with clear communication of the points of the better-than-expected deal, outreach to allies, and excellent remarks from U.S. President Barack Obama, who expertly and effectively hit every note required. From citing the strengths of the interim agreement to underscoring the White House’s focus on its finalization, careful implementation, and enforcement; from underscoring the importance of counterbalancing Iran in the region through collaboration with key allies to giving credit to the people who actually made the deal happen, it was pitch perfect.***