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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Editorial

Editorial

America’s protracted contretemps with Iran continues. The Iranian madman Ahmadinejad last week compared his nation’s nuclear development to a runaway train, and has left no doubt as to his intentions on that front. The United States, of course, is loath to let Iran ever get nukes. Secretary of Defense Rice is as vehement as her predecessor Rumsfeld was on this matter, but the new SecDef seems to have taken a path the previous eschewed; the negotiating table. Condoleeza Rice will spend most of the next two months in talks with Iran and Syria to discuss that most pressing of Middle East matters, Iraq, which has become as divisive an issue in that world-for different reasons-as in our own.

Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair sent a clear message to the U.S. recently, as he has made known his plans to withdraw from Iraq, as he enters new troops into Afghanistan.

These are interesting developments, both Rice (perhaps going above her boss’s head) deciding to engage in talks and Blair alternately withdrawing and increasing commitment. President Bush made harsh pronouncements about the possibility of talks with Iran as recently as November, saying “Iran knows how to get to the table with us, and that is to do that which they said they would do, which is verifiably suspend their enrichment programs.” Evidently Rice has decided against the Decider and took Iran to the table herself, and Blair is attempting to stand out from under Bush’s shadow in the eyes of his electors.

They’re probably good decisions, each. Iran is directly aiding the Shi’a militias in Iraq, by arming them through the back door and setting up training camps in Lebanon while Ayatollah al-Sistani looks on and says nothing. The Iranians, of course, being a predominately Shi’a society, have a vested interest in aiding the Shi’a in Iraq. The bond is unbreakable by the U.S., any realistic person knows, and Rice must have realized it herself. Iranian Shi’a are tied to their brothers across the border by what goes deeper than mere politics, and in the explosive Iraq situation they are a serious player. Perhaps what will end up happening is that Iran is granted some modicum of nuclear capability for domestic production in exchange for peacemaking with the Sunni in Iraq. Syria, a Sunni nation (and one far more sympathetic to Iran than the U.S.) could play an interesting intermediary role.

That Iran is willing to talk with us can only be perceived as a good sign. The sorry fact is though that they do so as the Iraq situation continues to be tense. The United States may have no choice but to bring a conciliatory attitude to the table, despite all the tough talk of the past, because it seems that circumstances have forced our hand. Peace after all, is in everyone’s best interest, and it can be assumed that Ahmadinejad knows this.

At least until he remembers about Israel. Then the whole talks may go for naught. We’ll see what the next two months hold.