In my opinion, the U.S. delegation was merely looking for the most expedient route to a compromise which it could then tout as a "success" of the Obama administration.
The effort shows a true lack of long-term thinking and a great lack of historical perspective. Anyone who is familiar with past dealings with Japan regarding whaling should understand that any agreement is simply a means to an end for the Japans government.
They want to scrap all obstacles to expansion of commercial whaling: Scrap the moratorium through compromise negotiations; scrap Sea Shepherd as part of the negotiations by manipulating the USA or another country to take action against the activists; then watch as Japan objects to any new regulations and resumes its pattern of violation and subversion of IWC resolutions free of opposition.
In short, Japan needs the USA in order to achieve its goal of "normalization" (code for making the IWC an International Whalers Club once again) and is perfectly willing to take advantage of Obama's desire to take the most politically expedient route. Obama can then claim he "reduced" the number of whales killed all while embracing Japan as a trade and defense partner.
AnimuX you touch on a significant series of points, one of which is the lack of a long term strategy for ending whaling that is rooted in a lack of institutional knowledge that some country delegations have when it comes to this issue.
Unfortunately, newly appointed individuals, especially if they come in with new administrations, often feel that they need to be 'new brooms' and that they can 'solve' what they see as purely a 'diplomatic problem' to get swept under the carpet as soon as possible.
We saw the same problems ten years ago with the so-called 'Irish Proposal'. It seems that they are always keen to repeat the mistakes of the past
Most here will not agree with me. If it is OK for the indigenous peepols to hunt whales, I see no reason that sustainable whaling is wrong, morally or otherwise.The Japanese, however, are thumbing their noses on the authority in this situation, as are the Norwegians for all I know (for the record I am 3rd generation Norwegian along with a lot of other recent illegal immigrants). I would have no real problem if somebody lent the authority a couple of cutters.Arthur C. Clarke (he who thought of the communication satellite) has a novel, The Deep Range, based on sustainable whaling. Well worth the read if you are into Westerns (disguised as science fiction).