Saturday, June 10, 2006

Iran, Iraq

Rewards that men with power win...

Rewards that women with power win...
(Vive la Difference)

In case you've missed, my new "US Stumbles Onto Road to Diplomacy With Iran" which compares the opening to China under Dr. K. (seen above with friends) to the recent "opening" to Iran under Condi (seen above with a friend):
For several years I have argued that Washington should adopt a Realpolitik-type approach to dealing with Iran, including by opening a direct diplomatic dialogue with Tehran aimed at resolving some of the differences between the two governments.

In particular, I've been critical of the Bush administration's neocon-driven policy of promoting "regime change" in Iran and of its rejection of diplomatic overtures from Iran. And I've called on President George W Bush to follow the example of another hawkish Republican President, Richard Nixon, who reshaped global politics by going to communist China, and adopt a similar strategy by going to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

So it's not surprising that the recent news about the US decision to agree to negotiate with Iran resulted in quite a few e-mails from colleagues who wanted to know whether I thought that the recent development reflected a change in US position towards a more "realistic" approach vis-à-vis Iran.

"Don't you agree that President Bush and Secretary (Condoleezza) Rice have finally distanced themselves from the neoconservative agenda and have embraced a Kissinger-like policy towards Iran?" one of my correspondents e-mailed me. The simple answer is that, no, I don't agree with the notion that the recent move by the Bush-Rice team to agree to talk with Iran (under certain conditions) recalls the decision by the Nixon-Kissinger crew to open diplomatic negotiations with China. The latter move was one major step in the implementation of a coherent strategy whose goal was to change the balance of power in the Cold War by forming a Sino-American alliance that would counter Soviet power around the world.

President Nixon and his top foreign policy advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger were determined to establish diplomatic links with Beijing and ensured that their project would succeed by conducting preliminary secret negotiations with the Chinese. One could compare their policy to a powerful bulldozer running over all the obstacles as it pressed ahead towards the final destination.

President Bush and Ms. Rice, on the other hand, resemble the exhausted and disoriented drivers of a broken-down vehicle who cannot operate the GPS in the car and who are not even sure what address they should be looking for. But driving around town for hours and hours they are relieved to discover a gas station where they hope to make a phone call and perhaps purchase a map. And who knows? They might even end up being on time for their job more

I'll be writing about Zarqawi, etc. in my next column. But I do recommend several good pieces on the most latest "tipping point" in Iraq on, in particular by Brendan O'Neill and Justin Raimondo . My colleague Christopher Preble has an Daily Podcast, "After Zarqawi" on the Cato Institute website. And also recommended is Tony Karon's Zarqawi Death Suggests the U.S. Has Brought the Baathists in From the Cold (Maybe. But me think Tony is giving too much credit to the Bushies; they're not as smart as he is...) as well as Dr. Struass' Knock Knock Knockin'. Bottom Line of all these and other items: Good Riddance! But both Washington and Zarqawi helped transform Zarqawi from a local gang leader into a international cult figure. And he hasn't been the driving force behind the violence in Iraq which will not die after his own death.

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