Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Someone's On The Pipe

Don't know what he was smoking when he wrote this, but man it must have been some good s**t.
No More Excuses - New York Times:But that changed yesterday, when Condoleezza Rice announced her willingness to talk with Iran about nukes so long as Iran suspended its enrichment program first. As Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment notes, in a swoop the U.S. has put itself back in front of events. It's taken the initiative away from Ahmadinejad and Vladimir Putin, and it's created a series of problems for Tehran.

What Rice did was set off a chain of events that could lead to a U.N. resolution on Iranian sanctions as early as July. Diplomats, book your New York hotel rooms today.

Yesterday's policy shift really began in late April, as Rice returned from a visit to Baghdad and decided it was time to bring the dispute with Iran to a head. The European Union negotiations were dissolving into disharmony and confusion. There were some indications that Iran was accelerating its nuclear program. It was clear that Iran was winning.

Rice decided to shake things up. What she had to do, to borrow the metaphor of one senior administration official, was to take the cue ball and smash it into all the other balls on the table, and so open up room for future maneuvering.

This in itself was a gutsy maneuver, for in deciding to get so active she was essentially betting her career on her ability to deal with Iran.

Quickly, President Bush and Rice agreed upon a course of action that was neither passivity nor bombing. They decided to accelerate the diplomatic process. They did this with no expectations that Iran would agree to negotiate away its nuclear program. There are no optimists in this administration about the prospects for diplomacy (though there are varying degrees of pessimism).

Instead, Bush and Rice concluded that it was necessary to exhaust diplomatic alternatives, in order to make international sanctions possible later. The U.S. had to remove everybody else's excuses for inaction.

Bush and Rice told their European and Chinese allies they would be willing to talk with Iran so long as it was in a group, so long as the Iranians suspended their enrichment program, so long as the Europeans agreed to really stick by this precondition, and so long as the Europeans, Russians and Chinese agreed in writing to a menu of sanctions to be imposed if talks never got off the ground.
Iran will be right on that. Yup, yup. They will immediately cease what they are doing (after having made overtures themselves that were ignored a few weeks ago) and do whatever it takes to make the US happy so we don't do something stupid like start a war that we don't have the troops, equipment or energy to fight.
Still, the accomplishments over the past few weeks have been impressive. Bush and Rice have created a coherent policy. They have organized the Europeans, Russians and Chinese around that policy. They have put Iran on the defensive, and forced the different factions in the regime to argue about what sort of country they wish to become. (Yesterday's public blast from Tehran was anticipated and discounted.)
Not like their opinion is all that important, is it?
Even the rollout was masterful. I called experts around the world yesterday afternoon, and all of them seemed to have just gotten off the phone with a senior administration official (or two), and all were positive about what had been achieved.
People always believe whoever blows smoke up their patoot, until they start thinking again. The Bush administration always act like it is Rush week and do whatever it takes for you to see their side.

That was some good stuff, you should share. I don't think you can handle it by yourself, it leads to distorted judgement.

Rehab is certainly an option.
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