Recently, U.S. officials announced some economic sanctions against Iran are being eased because that country says it is complying with an agreement not to build nuclear weapons.
At the same time, other U.S. officials announced the United Nations should rescind an invitation for Iran to participate in talks on ending the Syrian civil war, because of Iran's support for the Syrian regime.
So, let us get this straight: When Iranian officials say they are not trying to produce nuclear weapons, we believe them. But when, as was the case until Iranian involvement became so blatant as to be undeniable, the same people say they are not supporting Islamic militants fighting for the Syrian regime, we do not believe them.
Diplomacy certainly is far more complex than most people realize. On some issues, the U.S. and certain other countries agree. On others, we and the same other nations disagree.
But at the heart of it all is trust. Either we can accept promises made by other world leaders or we cannot.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry seem to be telling us that we can believe Iranian leaders some of the time, but not always.
That is a shaky basis on which to base an agreement on, say, whether Iran will get nuclear weapons.