Imagine a mother. Her child is busily involved in stripping her shelves of every piece of heirloom China she owns, and then hurling the stuff to the floor. The mother is ineffectually fluttering around the child saying, "Stop, please stop." Her neighbor walks in and says, "Why don't you promise to give him a hammer?" The mother does so and the child, intrigued by the promise, stops long enough to demand and then receive the promised hammer. After that, hammer in hand, the child redoubles his destructive efforts. The child has learned a valuable lesson: If I'm destructive, I will be rewarded.
Any mother who parents like this should be reported to Child Protective Services. A minimal level of intelligence dictates that the first thing you do is stop the child's destructive acts. Depending on your parenting style, you can either follow that with a consequence or not. (I fall in the former category.) Only then is it carrot time. You tell your child that, in return for continued, sincere good behavior, rewards will follow. Any return to the former bad behavior will see instant consequences. It's not brain surgery to figure out this type of cause and effect.
But if it's so simple, why don't world political leaders get it? Throughout the 1990s, the West, led by America, continuously rewarded N. Korea for bad behavior. You could just imagine the N. Korean leaders sitting around the conference table: "We need a new water purification plant in the northern provinces. Let's tell the U.S. we're building a nuclear weapon. That ought to shake something out of them." Every threat or bad act received an instant reward in terms of money and technology.
Now, the beginning of the 21st Century sees Iran, which starts off more heavily armed than N. Korea and, if possible, even more insane, having figured out the same pattern. Shake some sabres, threaten a renewed Holocaust, and get a reward. The latest example has Europe in the role of the helpful neighbor, urging us to give Iran some "incentives" even as Iran continuously escalates its rhetoric and armament:
Diplomats say European countries asked United States to consider selling new airplanes to Iran as part of proposed package of incentives aimed at resolving nuclear crisis with Tehran
European countries have asked the United States to consider selling new airplanes to Iran as part of a proposed package of incentives aimed at resolving the nuclear crisis with Tehran, diplomats said on Friday.
What is it about politics, especially European politics, that sucks the brains out of people?