Real Diplomacy?

As crazy as I might be for falling for this, it looks like the Bush Administration is pursuing real diplomacy with Iran. First, we're not hearing any more "why would a country with so much oil want a nuclear program" foolishness. Iran has a right to civil nuclear technology, so it's nice we're no longer predicating success upon removing Iran's nuclear program all together. That's a significant change in our approach.

Secondly, we're ignoring the inflammatory public face of Iran - the crazy-ass, but largely powerless president. Dr. Rice, who was everywhere these last couple of Sunday mornings, basically pretended all the negative rhetoric didn't exist. "The Iranians are refusing to stop enrichment prior to engaging your deal," says the interchangeable-interviewer-man, and Condi just soldiers on, explaining that they didn't view it as a rejection since the deal hasn't been presented it yet. I mean, that's old-school brilliant - straight up, Kennedy style. Just ignore the parts you don't want to hear!

Thirdly, she won't discuss the terms of the agreement being presented, because "Iran should be allowed to consider it first." I think, in order for this diplomacy to succeed for the participants politically, it's going to have secret components. The divide is just too wide to bridge without some clandestine assurances.

The problem I have with really believing our good intentions is that the public doesn't see much while genuine diplomacy is going on. We could be engaging in a serious minded way, trying every tool in the box to achieve our goals behind the scenes... or we could be making a big show of attempting diplomacy while simultaneously including provisions that are sure to derail the process and give us an excuse for confrontation. Our tactic requiring cessation of enrichment before diplomatic engagement is problematic, for instance, since that would be the main concession we'd be aiming for during the talks themselves. All the same, I'm on board the diplomacy train at this point. We'll see how it goes in the next "few weeks" that Rice says Iran has to decide if it's interested.

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