Monday, August 21, 2006

Meet the new crisis, same as the old crisis: Iran!

What the hell, we might as well throw Iran in there for some "precise military action" as well.
It looks like we're about to have another crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions soon. A few months ago, the US and Europeans offered Iran a pretty decent package of economic incentives, direct US/Iranian talks and even the possibility of a limited civilian nuclear program. This surprisingly level-headed approach by the US was quite a radical departure from the usual resistance-is-futile line coming from the administration up until then. Condi Rice supposedly convinced W. that perhaps a few carrots thrown in with all those big sticks might get the job done. And it might have worked. Unfortunately, Condi took one step forward and ten steps backward by adding the precondition that Iran must suspend its nuclear enrichment program before anything could begin to happen. The Iranians naturally rejected this as a nonstarter.

The entire notion that Iran had to suspend enrichment before we would start to talk to them about suspending enrichment was a completely counter intuitive and sunk the whole plan before it even got off the ground. Now there's no doubt that we're headed toward a show-down in the Security Council and shortly after that all hell should break loose.

We're still hearing the 'we want diplomacy' line from the administration, but something tells me Cheney & Co. are now hunkered down in the bunker pouring over maps of Iran's oil wells. Condi's credibility is pretty much shot at this point and the neocons are climbing back into the saddle. Just last month Danielle Pletka was morning the passing of the administration's "cowboy years," when "assertive leadership, a no-nonsense national security policy and gratuitous rudeness to America's allies" had American "reaching for its holster," instead of dealing with the challenge of Iran with endless meetings. [FT] After the drubbing Israel took in southern Lebanon it's a fair bet those good old days are going to be returning for an encore.


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