(Washington Post) There are many stories about the late Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, a long-serving secretary of state to Pope John Paul II. Although in modern times, the Holy See has been blessed with many gifted statesmen, Casaroli was recognized as one of the greatest Vatican diplomats of his time. One day, as the story goes, a friend asked him to list the three most important characteristics of a successful diplomat. Without a momentâ€™s hesitation the Cardinal replied, â€œPatience, patience and more patience.â€ This special insight was probably the key to his diplomatic success.
It is therefore no surprise that the negotiations to arrive at the final and delicate conclusion to the long discussions between the P5+1 countries and Iran over its nuclear program took time and patience. There are reports of arduous deliberations over almost every word in the agreement. It was indeed an extraordinary process of dialogue, but perhaps it will be most notable for the patience it required. This patience indicated an enormous desire to find the right answers and, in so doing, to have an important and historic impact, not only on the Middle East, but in a larger sense on the direction of the modern world.
We truly have reason to compliment Secretary of State John Kerry. In the immediate wake of his long and heroic, but ultimately unsuccessful, efforts to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, Kerry entered into this new marathon. Fortunately, the P5+1 nations and Iran seemed truly dedicated to coming to a concrete solution. [More]