Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dude, It’s the Mullah’s Fault, Not Any Of Us!

From today’s Times:

European officials say the negotiations with Iran in Vienna are at an impasse, and they have become increasingly vocal in saying that the talks will fail without the Americans at the table. But the White House is skeptical of the European approach, which is to offer economic and political incentives to Iran to try to get the country to drop its nuclear program.

It’s all Iran all the time in Europe right now, isn’t it? It provides a nice smokescreen, I suppose, a way for Bush and European leaders to pretend that when it comes to Iran’s nuclear ambitions they finally have an issue on which they can all agree. Bad, very bad! Of course, just how the US and Europe hope to approach this problem is at odds, but that’s not something you’ll hear the gang talking too loudly about. Europe is tired of being mad at the US and the US is tired of being mad at Europe. It’s time for hugs and backslaps. Look, Europe is going to train Iraqi troops! Well, yeah, it’s modest, but gosh, it’s something! Now Europe would love to have the US at the bargaining table with them concerning Iran but Bush refuses. Why, I can’t entirely understand but Bush did offer this revealing piece of realpolitik:

Look, first, let me just make this very clear -- the party that has caused these discussions to occur in the first place are the Iranians. . . . They're the party that needs to be held to account, not any of us.

So there! I’m sure the Iran’s mullahs are chewing on that one. “Well, by Allah, he’s right! Away with these nuclear weapons programs!”

And yet you've got to wonder, if the Bush gang aren’t hip to Europe’s way of dealing with Iran, what’s their alternative? Bush offered his assurances at a press conference yesterday:

And finally, this notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table.

And might one of those options be attacking Iran? You want to say, “Well, that’s impossible given how stretched we are in Iraq, it’s simply not possible,” but then, I’ve learned to never underestimate the lunacy of this administration and what they’re capable of.

This kind of refusal to take part in negotiations while failing to provide a necessary alternative is not unlike the administrations current troubled relationship with North Korea and that countries own nuclear ambitions. Pyongyang has strongly hinted that it would stop processing plutonium in return for energy assistance from the US, South Korea and Japan but it’s currently refusing to continue negotiations within the framework of the current 6-party disarmament talks, favoring instead dealing one on one with the US, something the Bush administration refuses to even consider.

Now granted, North Korea ain’t exactly the sanest kid on the block, but doesn’t that provide even more reason to resolve this issue? When we know it has, according to our latest intelligence, anywhere between 2 to 15 bombs, three-phase rockets capable of reaching as far as the US West Coast and a country slowly starving itself to death, you have to wonder about the ideological rigidity of this administration. Avert nuclear crisis? Some other time perhaps.

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