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Tilting at Windmills

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June 18, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

STEELY RESOLVE UPDATE....Remember that 2003 letter from Iran proposing "comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences"? I've blogged about it before here. Today, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post reports that he has gotten a copy of the letter itself and can tell us exactly what Iran was prepared to talk about:

The document lists a series of Iranian aims for the talks, such as ending sanctions, full access to peaceful nuclear technology and a recognition of its "legitimate security interests." Iran agreed to put a series of U.S. aims on the agenda, including full cooperation on nuclear safeguards, "decisive action" against terrorists, coordination in Iraq, ending "material support" for Palestinian militias and accepting the Saudi initiative for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The document also laid out an agenda for negotiations, with possible steps to be achieved at a first meeting and the development of negotiating road maps on disarmament, terrorism and economic cooperation.

That's pretty comprehensive, all right. And why did we turn down the offer? Kessler tells us that too:

Top Bush administration officials, convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse, belittled the initiative. Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the fax with a cover letter certifying it as a genuine proposal supported by key power centers in Iran, former administration officials said.

That demonstrates some savvy foreign policy insight, doesn't it? Turn down an unprecedented offer from Iran when they're weak and we're strong, and then three years later reluctantly agree to much narrower talks when they're stronger and we're weaker. Great job, guys.

NOTE TO POST EDITORS: Nice job putting this on page A16. It's not as if this is anything important, after all.

Kevin Drum 3:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Comments

We are so very strong! We'll bomb the living heck out of everyone and anyone.

Al nails it:

Strength = bombs = freedom = safety!

Posted by: Freedom Phucker on June 18, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

That's old news. Stuff that happened 3 years back isn't important. Stuff that happened in 2001 is.

Posted by: Fred Barnes on June 18, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why the hell is all the important stuff today getting stuffed on p. 37? This letter from Iran, plus Khalilzad's memo about how even the 'Green Zone' is rapidly unravelling.

Come on, journamalists, prioritize.

Posted by: Trent Lott's Hair on June 18, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

That's old news.

Actually, it is. Three months old, in fact, and it may have broken earlier somewhere else that I missed.

Which of course doesn't excuse WaPo's placement of the story, or its tardiness . . .

Posted by: penalcolony on June 18, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

It seems pretty clear it's not the journalists or even the editors who, these days, set policy at most papers.

Just one more piece of evidence, if any is needed, that a non-reality based agenda drives this administration that has nothing to do with the long term interests of the US or, more particularly, peace and stability in this world. Incredible!

This administration is so in cloud cuckoo land. They have such absolute faith in their own divination that they never have any contingency plans. Even if you thought Iran was going to collapse the day after tomorrow, why wouldn't you talk to them today and tomorrow. The world was increasingly safe from Kruschev on when the US and Soviets became more and more communicative.

The only reason is that in 2003 they were still so caught up in the PNAC hubris that Iran was a target, the next in line.

Idiots. Criminal, blood and money wasting idiots!

Posted by: notthere on June 18, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

notthere is right - this is absolutely an example of criminal negligence

I keep thinking that the usual gang of idiots (apologies to Mr. Gaines) has hit rock-bottom stupid, and then things like this come to light

Posted by: thrashbluegrass on June 18, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

An illegitimate Iranian government made a sham offer, and Kevin Drum is criticizig Bush for not rushing to appeasement.

Typical liberal weakness.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

kevin: Great job, guys.

the bush admin. are gamblers...not with their stuff mind you...

but with taxpayer money and soldiers lives....

kevin....shouldn't that really be....

heck of a job?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 18, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Trent Lott's Hair wrote: "Khalilzad's memo about how even the 'Green Zone' is rapidly unravelling."

Cite, please?

As for dear little Hawkie, ain't he cute? A completely predictable response, with a complete lack of facts, a strawman argument, an ad hominem attack, and a non sequitur. Hmm... could this be just a script-based 'bot posting here?

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, found the Green Zone story here, with the actual document here. You're right; that is a story that should not be buried.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm... "(NOTE: An Arab newspaper editor told us is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province, as political parties and their militias are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq. One editor told us that the KDP is now planning to set up tent cities in Irbil, to house Kurds being evicted from Baghdad.)"

Nope, nothing important here.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Iranian government is in their last throes. Taking their diplomatic rants seriously is like walking ten miles to work in response to Gore's new movie ripoff version of Mein Kampf. Wishful thinking has served us well in Iraq and will do so again in Iran.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh...as I said in another thread, dear little Hawkie is already his own worst enemy, looking foolish on a regular basis. We really don't need a fake Hawkie.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

America Hawk:

From 0 to Godwin in 2 posts

Posted by: thrashbluegrass on June 18, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Wishful thinking has served us well in Iraq and will do so again in Iran.Posted by: American Hawk on June 18, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Clap louder, Hawkie. I don't think Tinkerbell can hear you.

Posted by: jcricket on June 18, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Yep... American Hawk is spot on:

Why rush to appeasement when you can bleed yourself to death in the Iraqi desert first, and then appease Iran?

By the way, it is also nice to see Kevin catch the wave that we are weak now.

Why?
Because in order to postulate that, he likely recognizes on some deep subconscious level, the naked truth: IRAQ IS LOST!

I doubt he will just come out and say that... as that is not the sort of words a major blogger can risk typing. Nope. That would be irresponisble punditry. It is too honest. And it opens oneself to be ripped apart by repugs as a traitor to "our republican troops."

As far as I know... I'm the only one consistently saying it:

IRAQ IS LOST!
BUSH LOST IRAQ!
IRAQ IS LOST!
BUSH LOST IRAQ!


Posted by: koreyel on June 18, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

PS...

And I am going to keep saying it, because:

1) it is the truth
2) it pisses repugs off.

BUSH'S INCOMPETENCE LOST IRAQ!

Posted by: koreyel on June 18, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

This is classic. America plays Poker, and Iran is playing chess. We decided to raise the stakes with nothing in the hole, and Iran has flopped a better hand we think. In reality, they knew they were moving chess pieces across the board. But you never know: we bluffed the Soviet Union into oblivion, because they, too, were playing chess, and we pretended to play poker, while actually countering their chess move. The story in iran is not yet over.

Posted by: Chris on June 18, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly, why do any of these foreign policy faux-pas continue to surprise us? Bush's lackadaisical complacency allowed 9-11 to happen, and his overbown sense of hubris has dominated his foreign policy since. He's a fuck-up and history will treat him that way. Right now, the only people who don't get that The Emperor Has No Clue are the willfully obtuse.

Posted by: jcricket on June 18, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

In addition to the Newsday report mentioned above, Gareth Porter and IPS ran a story on the Iranian outreach last month.

Posted by: Bill on June 18, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

If the Mullahs who control Iran want to negotiate an end to their nuclear program, nothing is stopping them. When the US turned down their overture in 2003, they could have negotiated with Europe. If they truly wanted such negotiations and if (for some unknown reason) they insisted on US participation, well they negotiate now.

In short, if Iran's Mullahs were sincere about willingness to eschew nuclear weapons, then nothing has been lost. If they're not sincere, then negotiations in 2003 would have been fruitless.

I will agree that Bush administration officials made a judgments, if the article is correct that they were convinced the Iranian government was on the verge of collapse and that's the reason they turned the offer down. I wish the WaPo article had given more details. Who was their source on the reason the proposal was turned down? What specifically did the source say? Has anyone officially confirmed this story? How did these top Bush officials come to their wrong belief? Was it based on bad analysis from govrnment agencies, such as the State Department, the CIA, etc.?

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 18, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Three years ago, eh? Let's see...that would be on Condi's watch, no? Must not embarrass the ex-provost, must we? Page 16 sounds about right, next to a bra ad or some such.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on June 18, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. - Don't forget that Bush has demonstrated a willingness and an ability to negotiate. It was about 2003 when they negotiated an end to Libya's nuclear weapons program.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 18, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

To state the obvious-but-not-yet-said: whatever the opposite of Vietnam Syndrome is, these guys have it with respect to the Cold War. Having won a huge geopolitical victory once because their enemy collapsed, they think that's now a reasonable strategy - even though it's been the strategy of choice in, for instance, Cuba, for 40 years and hasn't worked.

Posted by: DonBoy on June 18, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

NOTE TO POST EDITORS: Nice job putting this on page A16.

Another chapter in the Myth of the Liberal Media.

Posted by: Ringo on June 18, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think maybe we just don't understand the master plan.

The loss of US life in Iraq has been nominal compared to scenarios where we were honest with the Iraqi people about desiring to have them under our boot indefinitely.

Who knows what the goal is in Iran. Our Iranian policy looks pretty stupid right now, but that might just be because we don't understand the Bush administration's motives. If the goal is to convert them all to christianity maybe this is actually a decent tactic. If things go awry we can always baptize them with the holy tritium (one nucleon each for the father, son, and holy ghost).

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 18, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, nice try, but there is a cost for the Bush administration's intransigence and for this missed opportunity. Three years ago, the U.S. had a strong hand and Iran had more reason to negotiate. Today, our hand is considerably weaker and they have less reason to negotiate and to make concessions, as we've seen.

As for Libya, there are a few problems with your interpretation. The first is that the deal in question had been underway for quite a few years and it did not originate with the Bush administration. The second is that Libya had to give up very little since they had little to give up. And the third is that the Bush administration had previously turned down the Libya deal. What changed was not any additional concessions from Libya but the fact that Bush was getting badly beaten up for the failure to find any WMDs in Iraq. They needed a "victory" and they needed it badly. Miraculously, the formerly unacceptable Libya deal now became acceptable.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

"If the Mullahs who control Iran want to negotiate an end to their nuclear program, nothing is stopping them. When the US turned down their overture in 2003, they could have negotiated with Europe."

What horse manure! The reason for the Iranian nuclear program is to produce a weapon to deter the Americans and the Israelis, not the Europeans. Why, then would they negotiate an end to the program with the Europeans?

Posted by: rea on June 18, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

...How did these top Bush officials come to their wrong belief? Was it based on bad analysis from govrnment agencies, such as the State Department, the CIA, etc.?

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 18, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Because, just like Iraq, it had nothing to do with any analysis. It was all based on the neo-con ideologically based assumption that all things would come to pass as they desired.

I just don't see anything in your analysis that says you were ever a liberal. There is no apparent ability for critical analysis.

Why wouldn't Iran want to negotiate directly with the US? They are the only power that can seriously affect their world. Also, from 2001 on, the administration was showing a singular desire to undermine international multilateralism and was happy to negotiate many other facets on a bilateral level or with limited partners rather than use international forums. Trade, environment and military intervention are prominent.

The obvious exception has been in negotiating with nations the US itself has identified as particular threats. Iraq, Korea, Iran. This adminstration has to be dragged kicking and screaming to a negotiating table where they perceive a threat. Sort of counter-logical. Engagement China, good; Cuba, bad.

Go figure. The most disastrous foreign policy the US has had in 65 years, all set by idealogues with an upside-down view of the world.

PNACnuts. The new wunderkind. . . Dangerous Idiots!

Posted by: notthere on June 18, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding placement of the two stories in WashPo: Unlike the NYT, they always lead with domestic stuff and move onto the world next. Don't ask me why; it's as illogical as the English (and American) way of writing dates, with the month-day-year sequence, instead of day-month-year or vice versa. And the Ambassador's cable from Iraq (about the deteriorating conditions in the Green Zone's office staff) was, in a way, on the front page. Of a separate section (Outlook). Not as good as being on the front page of the entire paper, but not exactly buried, either.

AH:"The Iranian government is in their last throes."

Are you certain-sure, AH? I thought it was the Iraq's insurgency that was in its last throes (for the past 3 yrs)...

Posted by: libra on June 18, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

People. How any times do I have to tell you that American Hawk is spoofing you? His original name was DougJ over at Balloon-Juice, John Cole's place, and he makes outrageous statements in a GOP voice to see just how far he can take it before people catch on.

I understand that it is hard to tell, what with real idiots like Al, but you should have figured it out by now.

Posted by: Mike S on June 18, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

AH: "The Iranian government is in their last throes."

Wait, haven't I heard that one before?

Cheney: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." - May 31, 2005

Riiiiiiiiight.

Posted by: NBarnes on June 18, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

libra --
Keep the English and even the British out of it. It's just here in the US (as far as I know) we go month-day-year, and they did manage to go metric, pretty much, even decimalising their money.

After reading the cable from Iraq, thinking about the green-zone and the megacamps abuilding, I couldn't help thinking of the Roman legions of the Eastern frontier.

The most poignant parragraph was the one where Iraqi employees are asking what arrangements the US are making for them if the US pull out. There's a confirmation of the lack of confidence the Iraqis have in ultimate US victory. These should be the most confident. Also shades of Saigon. Spooky.

I thought the whole cable was a warning shot of reality across the bows of this administration, saying "Things Are VERY BAD and Getting WORSE."

Posted by: notthere on June 18, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

"People. How any times do I have to tell you that American Hawk is spoofing you?"

Well of course it is a low brow spoof.

Shit.

Ain't can't be no one that dumb outside the oval office.

But still, that doesn't invalidate --every now and then-- shoveling the shit it spews back into its loathsome maw.

By the way:

Ya'll ignored my post again.

Makes me wonder:

Just how many people in this country --libs, dims, repugs, libertarians, scientolgists, the great unwashed, and perverted trolls -- are willing to go out on reality's limb and assert that IRAQ IS LOST?

Eh?

My guess: less the 1% of the population.

PS: Bush lost Iraq.

I suspect very few of you...


Posted by: koreyel on June 18, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

NOTE TO POST EDITORS: Nice job putting this on page A16. It's not as if this is anything important, after all.

Important, hell yeah, news, hell no! You could get your own copy of the Iranian letter from armscontrolwonk.com back in may. And you still can. the text was on mideastweb.org before that.

I would hate to see the political blogosphere and MSM keep this pace in reading this important stuff. How hard can it be, its two neatly bulleted pages, thats hardly war and piece ;-) At this pace it will be years before we get to the US response. A draft copy can be found here (Thanks again armscontrolwonk.com)

A quick comparison, the subjects match pretty closely, and why shouldn't they, the US letter is only a draft ;-) Reuters reported a minor error was corrected before this was send over to Iran. The phrase "territorial integrity" was deleted, to be precise. It felt kind of silly anyway, tucked at the end of an unrelated paragraph.... I am sure these US security and political sovereignty guarantees where just a small mistake corrected by a helpful aide of someone in the Cheney family.

I guess next year someone will notice respect for sovereignty was actually a point in the Iranian letter. To quote the text: Halt in US hostile behavior and rectification of status of Iran in the US: (interference in internal or external relations, "axis of evil", terrorism list.) (Note the order of internal and external. )

And then, another year later, someone will notice that Iran may have intentionaly mentioned it as the first point in the letter.

I am sure the Iranian leadership feel fine with:
* The Iran freedom support act
* The events in Lebanon, which follow the events in Kyrgyzstan, which follow the events in Ukraine, which follow the event in Georgia, which follow the events in Yugoslavia.... (Making this list is easy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_Revolution , Thank god for lazy marketeers ;-) http://www.aforcemorepowerful.org/game/ , what? you didn't think new Europe was being build by haliburton? )
* Aziri`s rioting in the north over cartoons in state run newspapers, which suddenly get banned...
* Kurds getting just as upset as their Turkish counterparts
* US based, exile powered Bill O`reilly like satellite TV stations inciting protest after protest (http://search.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/search/results.pl?q=iran+satellite+tv+protest).
* The US military spending some quality time with the always friendly Mojahedin-e-Khalq.
* The US military spending some some in Iran, getting to know the locals.
* Liz Cheney working hard at her new job as democracy Czar (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2070419,00.html)
* PNAC talking about Iranian regime change (http://www.newamericancentury.org/iran-20040224.htm )
* Non US but English language newspapers printing stories by neocon exiles with PR group ties swiftboating the Iranian government (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Iranian_sumptuary_law)


All of that is part of the standard treatment, its when everything they say gets translated miserably by the western press they get a reason to be pissed of. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4617754.stm, http://www.juancole.com/2006/06/steele-on-ahmadinejad-of-arenas-of.html)

The Neocon goal for Iran is the same their goal was in Iraq, the overtrow of a goverment aka regime change, aka bringing democracy. Rumsfeld, haliburton and a bunch of exiles will figure out the rest.

Irak is the example of Neocons actually using force for this goal, and what an example is is. Sure, there are more examples of threatening the use of force than can be counted on on two hands, but does anyone take the treat of sending troops into the Netherlands seriously (see invasion of the Hague act)? Meanwhile the neocons are on a perceived winning streak in new europe + Lebanon with Syria as a work in progress.

And if you look back at the neocon Rhetoric before the war they used far less wiggle room around the it will be easy claims compared to the WMD and Islamic radical terror-links claims.

I like to think much of the white house actually believed Iraq would turn out much like they think Ukraine did, only with a nice photo op for US soldiers.

They really believed that greeted as liberators sh**. And in the neocon mind all the colored revolutions were a great democratic success, using American standards. (speaking of democracy: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060606/ap_on_re_eu/ukraine_nato)

Posted by: ht on June 18, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

They screwed it because they thought the Iranians were just like them. They would never give over their aims as long as they were in a position of strength, so they assumed that if Iran was offering concessions then Iran was weak.

Instead, Iran was demonstrating a long term vision in they were negotiating from a position of strength. They could afford to make these concenssions without topling the government and ensuring long-term survival.

Bushies = teh idiots

Posted by: MNPundit on June 18, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

koreyel wrote: "Just how many people in this country ... are willing to go out on reality's limb and assert that IRAQ IS LOST?"

Keep in mind that the difference between a SNAFU and a FUBAR is just not that great and it is definitely not easy to spot until months or even years later in hindsight.

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Mike S wrote: "People. How any times do I have to tell you that American Hawk is spoofing you? His original name was DougJ over at Balloon-Juice, John Cole's place, and he makes outrageous statements in a GOP voice to see just how far he can take it before people catch on."

Yeah, DougJ showed up here, as well, until he was well and truly outed. I'll never understand people like that. It takes no skill to troll that way and thus I'm at a loss to understand the attraction.

As for Al, what with all the fake Al's around here, I don't think the real Al has been here for awhile. That's another one I'll never understand -- as an occasional occurrence or when it first appeared, it's funny. When it's in every single thread and it's the same shtick each time, it quickly gets (and got) old and tired. It's time to move on. Sigh....

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

LOL @ PaulB:

"Keep in mind that the difference between a SNAFU and a FUBAR is just not that great and it is definitely not easy to spot until months or even years later in hindsight."

I guess I should quip in "hind"sight:

Way to split that wild hair that is growing up everyone's ass.

Seriously though...

I'd like to see a post, in which a major blogger answers this question:

Yes or no: IS IRAQ LOST?

And in which the blogger invites all of his commenters to put their "nicks" on the line with their own predictions.

Ya'll know where I come down:

BUSH FUIBAR.

Iraq is so lost... Bush could only stay there for FIVE hours. Shit. That's L.O.S.T.


Posted by: koreyel on June 18, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who signs himself "Trent Lott's Hair" automatically wins every argument, no matter what actual content he posts.

Posted by: craigie on June 18, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm... could this be just a script-based 'bot posting here?

Now you're getting it, dude. AH is just a perl script. Ignore it.

Posted by: craigie on June 18, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

What this demonstrates is an administration bubbled in its own reality, ready to got to everyone and everywhere unless physically restrained from doing so. This sick era cannot end soon enough.

Posted by: patience on June 18, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

koreyel wrote: "Way to split that wild hair that is growing up everyone's ass."

I truly was not trying to split hairs or be funny, despite the terminology. It's a legitimate point: when have we reached the point where the situation is so truly fucked up that it is beyond repair and our best (and perhaps only) alternative is to simply leave? And, a separate question, could putting a real grownup in charge of Iraq make a difference?

I think that part of the reluctance to make that leap is that if the situation truly is that screwed up, then we will be paying the price for that screw-up for years, and the price has the potential to be very high. Nobody wants that, so quite a few people hope and pray that the situation isn't as bad as they fear and cling to the hope that there is still some chance of a not-too-bad outcome.

And for politicians, there's the added element that even expressing the possibility of such a view immediately opens them up to some exceedingly vicious attacks. Should they have more courage? Of course they should and I wish they did, but we have to go with the politicians we have, not the ones we wish we had.

Sigh...why the hell are we doing this again in my lifetime? Is it really so difficult for people to actually learn from history?

Posted by: PaulB on June 18, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

...Yes or no: IS IRAQ LOST?
...
Iraq is so lost... Bush could only stay there for FIVE hours. Shit. That's L.O.S.T....

Posted by: koreyel on June 18, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Basically, koreyel, you are right.

It's more than the good US samaritan helping the injured Iraq, though.

First we bludgeoned the country down by the wayside. Then we came by and said "We must help you," while bludgeoning "you" again and again. Then we soothed you (actually the US public) and tended your wounds, whilst bludgeoning you again.

Then, surprised you can't pull it all together after all the bludgeoning, we debate whether it was worth stopping by.

Yes! It's very difficult for anyine of conscience to leave when the ills spawn from ourselves.

You are only right because the US government has been totally incapable of winning the hearts and minds they never had any intention of winning, or providing a realistic rebuilding.

Shame, Shame, SHAME!

Posted by: notthere on June 18, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

This is classic. America plays Poker, and Iran is playing chess.

Actually, it's neither poker nor chess. It's Bizarro negotiating. Remember the Seinfeld episode where George turned down an offer from the network, and then begged for a deal, eventually settling for a worse deal? Jerry called it Bizarro negotiating, and this is what Bush is doing now. I think Costanza could get a better deal.

Posted by: 2.7182818 on June 18, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB wrote, there is a cost for the Bush administration's intransigence and for this missed opportunity. Three years ago, the U.S. had a strong hand and Iran had more reason to negotiate. Today, our hand is considerably weaker and they have less reason to negotiate and to make concessions, as we've seen.

Sadly, I don't think the US ever had a strong hand in the Iraq negotiations. We can never get UN sanctions, because their oil is too important to Europe. We're not going to attack them, so there's no threat there. Even if we could get sanctions that hurt the Iranis a bit, the Mullahs could still do whatever they wanted to.

Frankly, my impression is that Iran wants nuclear weapons and the west isn't going to stop them. Time will tell whether Iran's possession of nukes is annoying or disastrous.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 19, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

This is exactly the sort of thing that rightwingers claim Clinton did when he was unable to retrieve Osama from the Sudan. Except Bush actually did blow off a chance to make America more secure.

Posted by: bolo on June 19, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

War with Iran is what we need. War with Iran is what we'll get.

We need this war to sustain the US or the world's bullish economy, and to materialize the coming of Christ.

Posted by: Left Behind Advocate on June 19, 2006 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Why would we expect that the incompetence shown in Iraq would have evaporated when it came to Iran.

Clue: Bush and his minions are incompetent and corrupt.

As incompetent and corrupt as the first Bush who befriended, financed, armed, and supported Saddam Hussein.

The Democrats spend most of their time cleaning up GOP messes; the GOP spends all of its time either creating those messes or performing inept cleanup activities in response to their own messes.

Conservatives will never learn that they are ineffective at everything but corruption, election fraud, voter intimidation, and creating economic, social, and foreign policy messes.

Half-hearted efforts to clean up messes they themselves created should not be rewarded.

Hopefully, Americans are waking up to that fact.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 19, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

koreyel: Iraq is so lost... Bush could only stay there for FIVE hours. Shit. That's L.O.S.T....

Visiting the Green Zone in Baghdad for 5-hours is like going to the Olive Garden and saying you've been to Italy. - John Stewart

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 19, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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