March 18, 2006

The Iranian Foxtrot

The issue of what to do about Iran, if anything, continues to play a close second in international news to the Iraq debacle. With Bush and Ahmedinejad seemingly trying to out-crazy each other at least weekly, it's been an entertaining story to follow. But cooler heads may yet prevail. In Iran, in this case and oh, so amusingly, that means the boat-rocking averse ayatollahs. In America, the chill may have to come from some of the media outlets and Bush flunkies that got us into Iraq.

In the NY Times, David Sanger wonders what would happen if we just let Iran have the bomb:

PRESIDENT BUSH'S message to Iran these days sounds unambiguous: The United States will do what it takes to keep the mullahs from getting the bomb. Diplomacy is vastly preferred, President Bush and his aides insist. Yet it was no accident that the just-revised National Security Strategy declares: "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided."

... "The reality is that most of us think the Iranians are probably going to get a weapon, or the technology to make one, sooner or later," an administration official acknowledged a few weeks ago, refusing to talk on the record because such an admission amounts to a concession that dragging Iran in front of the United Nations Security Council may prove an exercise in futility. "The optimists around here just hope we can delay the day by 10 or 20 years, and that by that time we'll have a different relationship with a different Iranian government."

A roll of the dice, for sure. Yet is the risk greater than it was when other countries from the Soviet Union and China to India and Pakistan defied the United States to join the nuclear club? ...

In spite of the not-exceptionally-alarming realities on the ground, the fact remains that US public policy towards Iran is enough to give an observer a serious case of whiplash. One day, Condoleezza Rice is calling Iran a "central banker of terrorism" that needs to get back on track with the nuclear negotiations, and virtually the next day the US is asking them for direct talks on the Iraqi security situation, which the article notes would be the first such talks in about 20 years.

Getting Iran to participate in discussions over regional stability isn't without precedent, with the recent example of their then foreign minister participating in the first set of German-hosted talks about Afghanistan's future and even coming back for a follow-up. Iran's current government has done its own share of calling the US to task for its actions, and are currently saying that they hope for introspective and respectful dialogue.

Heh. The Bush administration isn't even that nice to the Republican Congress. Grab the popcorn, folks, we're in for a floorshow.

Posted by natasha at March 18, 2006 10:14 PM | | Technorati links |