Jones: What was the most significant development in international affairs this year?

By: /
December 19, 2013

The interim deal in Iran: if it's finally inked, and if it holds, and if it leads to a more final deal on Iran's nuclear program. These are big ifs – already new names being added to the American sanctions regime caused the Iranian negotiators to walk out of the latest round of talks, and hardliners on both sides are going to work hard to halt implementation. And the distance between an interim deal and a final deal is a very long one, and one that will be hard to traverse with two parties that absolutely distrust each other. The U.S. President put the odds of a deal at 50/50 – probably a slightly optimistic assessment. But if a deal is reached, it will bolster international energy markets, remove a thorn from U.S. relations with India, China and Russia – and send the Middle East into crisis. And if a deal now fails, the risks of a military clash rise, and rapidly. Whichever way this plays out, it's the most significant development in international affairs.