Friday, April 21, 2006

The past comes back to haunt Iran policy

If the reports and timeline are accurate, Kevin Drum's summation of the ham-fisted, and perhaps deliberately disrupted, history of U.S. and Iranian relations since 2003 is about as clear an example of why the foreign-policy hard-liners in the administration need to be driven out.

With that as background, here's my suggestion: quit letting Cheney's crackpots run foreign policy and talk to Iran. After all, the administration's ideologues killed an opportunity to ratchet down tensions three years ago, and since then things have only gotten worse: Iran has elected a wingnut president, they've made progress on nuclear enrichment, gained considerable influence in Iraq, and increased their global economic leverage as oil supplies have gotten tighter. So why blow another chance? If the talks fail, then they fail. But what possible reason can there be to refuse to even discuss things with Iran — unless you're trying to leave no alternative to war?

The possibility that the administration's current "showdown" with Iran was manufactured, or at the least avoidable, is maddening, but not necessarily surprising. The lead-up to the war in Iraq was also avoidable. It was cynically presented to the American people and politicized to the hilt. The administrations true goals were masked with layers of assurances that war was, "a last resort," when in reality, the administration had already chosen their path. The oft heard, "we can't back off our forces now that they are poised to go," reasoning was one of the clearer examples at the time.

- Murphy

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