Friday, May 12, 2006

Regarding Da Lettah

Everyone is all atwitter about the president of Iran writing to the president of the U.S.
Lots of words. Lots of ideas.
I can't add anything to the mix that will compete, so the reader is directed to my favorite comments thus far by Dr. Leon Hadar. I like the picture, too.

He advanced the notion a year and a half ago that the Nixon-goes-to-China scenario could be applied to Iran...

That a hawkish Cold Warrior president was creating the conditions for what amounted to a strategic alliance with a regime committed to a radical anti-American ideology had to do with calculations of balance of power and national interests. Americans were hoping to exploit the tensions between the elderly leaders of the Soviet Union and China in order to put pressure on Moscow to make concessions on nuclear arms control. Nixon expected that opening China would help improve America’s geostrategic position in the aftermath of Vietnam and create an environment that would permit a gradual extraction of U.S. troops from the Southeast Asia quagmire. The Chinese regarded the new relationship as part of a strategy to contain what they perceived as a growing threat from the Soviet Union.Similar geostrategic calculations should have helped to drive Americans and Iranians into re-evaluating their current relationship—or lack of one—in the aftermath of 9/11 and certainly following the invasion of Iraq. Indeed, both reformers and conservative elements in Tehran were proposing a restoration of relations between the countries. And there were some signs that Washington was flirting with the notion, with realists advocating a more pragmatic approach, ranging from step-by-step “selective engagement” on a few major policy issues to a “grand bargain” that would lead to the re-establishment of normal diplomatic and economic ties.

Of all the ideas I have read, this one looks the most promising to me. He goes on to examine some more current thoughts advanced by others, concluding with a scenario that has Germany providing diplomatic good offices for a U.S.-Iran détente that might lead to something other than yet another war. We have already seen that the boss has some problems with the vision thing, but perhaps with a diplomatic nudge or two coupled with some in-house realpolitik counsel he might go along with the idea. We can hope.

No comments: