Friday, April 21, 2006

Bush, Iran and Diplomacy

I thought it might be useful to pass on Kevin Drum's take on Iran since he points out that the Bush Administration passed on an opportunity to negotiate with Iran shortly after we arrived in Baghdad:
TALKING TO IRAN....What should we do about Iran? I have a suggestion, but first I need to relate a story that's gotten suprisingly little attention from the press. Perhaps they're too bored to pick up on it.

It started on May 6, 2003, shortly after George Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. On that day the Associated Press reported without elaboration that Iran's Foreign Ministry had confirmed that "Iran has exchanged messages with U.S. officials about Iraq through the Swiss Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Tehran. He declined to give details."

What was that all about? Last January, Flynt Leverett, who worked for Condoleezza Rice on the National Security Council, provided some initial clues: "In the spring of 2003, shortly before I left government, the Iranian Foreign Ministry sent Washington a detailed proposal for comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences."

I've already mentioned that Bush had an excellent opportunity to engage in diplomacy with Iran shortly after 9/11; within four months, Bush passed on that opportunity to declare Iran a member of the axis of evil. It raises the question of how many diplomatic opportunities Bush has ignored and how many of those involve other countries as well.

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