Wednesday, March 26, 2008

US/Iran puzzle

At the Asia Times, M K Bhadrakumar takes a contrarian view of the next steps in US/Iran relations. He sees a possibility that the administration has decided to negotiate with Tehran:
Arguably, Bush's interviews signify that "unconditional talks" may have begun with Iran. Everything - almost everything - he said indeed had a caveat. But then, isn't that how negotiations commence without loss of face between any two stubborn adversaries?
And as another piece in the puzzle, he points out:
Besides, Tehran remains on the lookout for a shift in the US stance on the Nabucco gas pipeline sourcing Iranian gas via Turkey for the European market. Last week, Switzerland's Elektrizitaetshesellschaft Laufenburg signed a 25-year deal with the National Iranian Gas Export Company for the delivery of 5.5 billion cubic meters of Iranian gas annually. The agreement was signed during the visit of the Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey to Tehran.
So, maybe the Swiss are also seeing a calming of the waters. They seldom move when the seas are rough.

Unfortunately, unmentioned is the possibility that two parts of the administration are struggling for control over Feckless Leader's brain. Trying to understand this administration's goals through the optic of realpolitik just might not be possible, and it is more in the area of psycho-pathology that answers can be found.

Anyway, I certainly agree with his opening sentence:
The coming few weeks are going to be critical in the standoff between the United States and Iran as the upheaval in the Middle East reaches a turning point.
Let's hope he's right about the rest.


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