His tailors con him into believing the clothes will be seen by all as magnificent but will be invisible to those who are stupid. Donning his new attire, the emperor refuses to acknowledge he sees nothing, lest the tailors think him stupid.
Similarly, the townspeople, concerned they might be labeled as such, applaud their emperor as he parades around in the buff. Only after a little boy shouts he has nothing on, do the quiet whispers of the townspeople turn to shouts the emperor is naked.
Unfazed, however, the emperor continues the act he is clothed.
The tale is described as metaphor in which "the overwhelming ... majority of observers willingly share in a collective ignorance of an obvious fact, despite individually recognizing the absurdity."
The emperor's motivation in this 19th-century fairy tale can be applied to a 21st-century fairy tale being lived by U.S. President Barack Obama, who absurdly suggests the recent Iran nuclear deal is in U.S. national interests.
Concluded last month in Geneva after secretly being negotiated earlier by the administration, American "townspeople" who initially found themselves "in a collective ignorance of an obvious fact" have begun "recognizing the absurdity" of Obama's assertion.
Obama refuses to see the deal's "naked truth." It is without doubt heavily one-sided in Tehran's favor, requiring Obama to rely on its good faith a "comprehensive solution" on its nuclear arms program will be negotiated six months henceforth.
Obama has learned nothing from history's admonition when opposing sides seek to implement nuclear limitations -- it is "trust but verify."
A deal that leaves Iran's nuclear infrastructure in place, fails to definitively state Tehran has no enrichment rights, allows Iran to continue all existing operations, lacks a responsible check on Tehran's true intentions -- all while some sanctions against it are suspended -- has the mullahs ecstatic. Who can blame them?
A "vain" Obama now parades around, his "new clothes" in hand -- in the form of an Iranian nuclear agreement invisible to any controls curtailing its nuclear activity.
To buy more time to complete Iran's nuclear program and dupe Obama into thinking the climate was right to negotiate, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recognized a new climate had to be created.
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad failed miserably in giving the West a "warm and fuzzy" feeling due to his aggressive, irrational comments. Khamenei realized it was time for the "good cop/bad cop" routine.
Similar to U.S. law enforcement, which often uses this routine (both cops seeking the same end-game with different approaches), so too does Khamenei. Using the charade of a free presidential election, the bad cop -- Ahmadinejad -- transitioned out while the good cop -- Hassan Rouhani -- transitioned in.
While Khamenei packaged Rouhani as moderate, a background investigation indicates otherwise -- i.e., he is merely a "toned-down" Ahmadinejad.
Obama suggests a partial lifting of sanctions is of no consequence but it has taken years for the sanctions, implemented piecemeal, to have the collective effect they have on Iran's economy.
Further affecting the economy is funding costs of Iran's special operations in Syria, Iraq, Latin America and for its terrorist proxy Hezbollah. Partial lifting of sanctions will immediately infuse these operations with $7 billion.
Iran simply cannot survive economically by endeavoring to fund so much with so little while also trying to salvage a battered economy. Why allow Iran a gasp of air when it is choking?
The great Chinese war strategist Sun Tzu cautioned in dealing with an enemy, "Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant." The Iranians are growing arrogant but not because Obama "pretends" to be weak.
In 1984, Wendy's restaurant aired a television commercial depicting customers looking at a competitor's big "fluffy bun" burger which, when opened, revealed a small meat patty. An elderly customer inquired, "Where's the beef?" The catchphrase became popular for questioning the substance of an idea. It is an appropriate question now to pose to Obama about the Iran deal.
Congress wants more substance and may take action this week to provide the agreement with that beef.
A bipartisan initiative is under way in the House of Representatives to put meat on the bones of a deal clearly not in the "nation's best interests." The effort seeks to better define what is and is not acceptable and make better use of the required six-month period during which both sides undertake certain actions toward developing a comprehensive solution. Congress seeks to deem as non-negotiable any continuing Iranian enrichment program.
Meanwhile, Obama pressures the Senate not to take similar action.
Even the master of secret international negotiations -- former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger -- lambasts the deal (along with former Secretary of State George Schultz). They warn signaling rapprochement too early by lifting even partial sanctions creates a gold rush mentality to re-establish trade with Iran by countries blocked now from doing so. (Iran already is preparing for increased oil production.)
The deal would deny the United States such future leverage against Iran.
Responsible diplomacy demands none of the sanctions, which have pressured Iran to go to the negotiating table, be lifted absent a verifiable end to its enrichment.
Simultaneously with the Obama administration's push for a nuclear deal, Obama changed U.S. export laws, making it easier for prohibited sales of U.S. weapons to be made to Iran through middle men due to reduced oversight. Obama's timing on this couldn't be worse.
The last opportunity to defeat Obama's "fluffy bun" nuclear deal must come from a Congress recognizing it lacks beef.
(A retired U.S. Marine, Lt. Col. James Zumwalt served in the Vietnam War, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf War. He has written "Bare Feet, Iron Will -- Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran -- The Clock is Ticking.")
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)