Thursday, July 17, 2008

Credit where it’s due

For seven-plus years, the Bush administration has been cartoonish in its inability to do anything right or to be motivated by anything other than greed, cronyism and ignorance. So it’s not surprising that many news sites (blogs and progressive media; I of course am not referring to the MSM) look at everything the administration does with a jaundiced eye, searching for the hidden agenda, the pandering to The Base and/or the payoff — financial and otherwise — to campaign supporters and other assorted cronies.

And Lord knows, that search has uncovered the rotten fruit of yet another corrupt and wrong-minded action nearly every time. So who can blame them for focusing on the fact that this is a reversal of long-stated policy? After all, they’re right. It is. But it’s a reversal of a simple-minded, unproductive and extremely dangerous policy. And it’s a whole lot better than reading more reports that Bush plans to bomb Iran before he leaves office and supports Israel’s plans to do the same.
The US plans to establish a diplomatic presence in Tehran for the first time in 30 years as part of a remarkable turnaround in policy by President George Bush.

The Guardian has learned that an announcement will be made in the next month to establish a US interests section - a halfway house to setting up a full embassy. The move will see US diplomats stationed in the country.

The news of the shift by Bush who has pursued a hawkish approach to Iran throughout his tenure comes at a critical time in US-Iranian relations. After weeks that have seen tensions rise with Israel conducting war games and Tehran carrying out long-range missile tests, a thaw appears to be under way.

The White House announced yesterday that William Burns, a senior state department official, is to be sent to Switzerland on Saturday to hear Tehran's response to a European offer aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff.

Burns is to sit at the table with Iranian officials despite Bush repeatedly ruling out direct talks on the nuclear issue until Iran suspends its uranium enrichment programme, which is a possible first step on the way to a nuclear weapon capability.

A frequent complaint of the Iranians is that they want to deal directly with the Americans instead of its surrogates, Britain, France and Germany.

Bush has taken a hard line with Iran throughout the last seven years but, in the dying days of his administration, it is believed he is keen to have a positive legacy that he can point to.

The return of US diplomats to Iran is dependent on agreement by Tehran. But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad indicated earlier this week that he was not against the opening of a US mission. Iran would consider favourably any request aimed at boosting relations between the two countries, he said.
And, sure, it may turn out to be bullshit, like so much of what this administration has done. It may be cover, something the administration can point to after making a half-assed try at dialogue and say, “We tried diplomacy, it didn’t work,” right before letting the bombs fall where they may. Or it may be an attempt to bolster McCain so that the rich can continue their eight-year fleecing party at the expense of everyone else for at least another four years. And, sure, maybe Bush doesn’t give a flying rat’s ass about peace but is only looking to bolster his shitty image as he faces the end of his tenure and to make life easier for the “historians” who will fill his presidential library with lies. It may be all of those things, but it’s also giving peace a chance.

Hey, I’ve read worse things about our foreign policy.



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