< will have been > the xxx of a brave effort that < met >

OED Loves Me Not

Senior Member
Japanese - Osaka
Hello, friends.

:arrow: Context:
All this makes it unlikely that whatever comes of
these negotiations will be seen as historic.
If a comprehensive agreement is signed by the
end of June the interim deal will be seen as an
important milestone on the way.
But if the process collapses, this accord will have been
the high-water mark of a brave effort
that met with failure.
Excerpts from "The Iran nuclear talks: Not yet the real deal"
(The Economist, April 4th, 2015)
http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21647657-there-still-work-be-done-convince-sceptics-not-yet-real-deal/

:confused: Question:
Why is the word "met" (near the end of the text) in the past form?
Why not in the present ("meets") or in the future perfect ("will have met")?

(For the context, I don't think the "brave effort" has actually met with failure yet.
The six countries are now talking with Iran and we do not yet know
whether this effort will fail or not.

:idea: My hypothesis:

The statement "This accord will have been the high-water mark"
pertains to a time from sometime in the past to the time this accord
will hypothetically prove to fail. On the other hand, the subsequent phrase
"(the high-water mark) of a brave effort that < meets? met? will have met? >
with failure" requires that the verb ("meet") denote sometime before that.

"A point in time before that" should mean a point in time before
the time in the most distant past that this accord might have been the high-water
mark. Therefore, the verb after the phrase "a brave effort that" should be in the past.

Now, if the verb "meet" is in the present form ("meets") or in the future perfect
("will have met"), then the sentence would imply that the time that this accord
is or will be regarded as the high-water mark corresponds to the time that
the brave effort is or will be regarded as failure. But this is not the case.

Thus I've clumsily attempted to explain my reasoning. I'm not sure if I succeeded in
making myself understood. Either way, could anybody please help me out?
Thank you very much for reading my (yet again) lengthy post.
 
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