Reuel Marc Gerecht's opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday titled 'Attack Iran, With Words' advocating diplomacy with Iran may have taken some readers including this one by surprise given his resident fellowship credentials at the American Enterprise Institute. Not that there is anything new and earth shattering about the concept of engaging in dialog in order to resolve differences between nations. But is it possible that these people finally got a whiff of what the rest of us call 'Common Sense'?
Well, after reading the article the answer is still a resounding 'no'.
The current administration has paid a lot of lip service in the last few years to the notion of a diplomatic solution while continuously preparing public opinion through media spin on a path toward war with Iran. But that was three months and one very damaging National Intelligence Estimate ago. Strangely enough, the new neo-con strategy seems to be calling for real diplomacy not for the sake of preserving peace but rather to revive the vanishing and increasingly unpopular idea of using military force because as Gerecht puts it "the current approach isn't working". He goes on to suggest that "we must find a way to restore the resolve of all those parties [China, Russia, Germany, Britain and France] to hit Iran with a tsunami of sanctions if we are to diminish the victorious esprit in Tehran and the centrifuge production at Natanz."
And as for those "praying for the clerical regime to do something stupid" he dashes such hopes by stating that "[Iranians] will likely play it sufficiently cool to make it difficult for the United States to strike them pre-emptively. Thus the best reason to offer to begin talks with Tehran is that the regime will almost certainly refuse any offer to normalize relations."
So his recommendations for talking is not for the old cockamamie idea of engaging Iran in a wide-ranging dialog that would recognize its regional role or address any security or geo-strategic concerns, but "something that must be checked off before the next president could unleash the Air Force and the Navy."
And if you still have any doubt as to what he is exactly suggesting, he spells it out in black and white for you: "To make the threat of force against clerical Iran credible again, there needs to be a consensus among far more Democrats and Republicans that a nuclear-armed Iran is intolerable. If the White House tried more energetically to find a diplomatic solution to the nuclear threat, if it demonstrated that it had reached out to Iranian "pragmatists" and "moderates," and that again no one responded, then the military option would likely become convincing to more Americans."
Well this writer is certainly convinced. After 6 years of saber rattling and refusing to talk, except for making threats, moving a third of the U.S. naval arsenal to the Persian Gulf and accusing Iran of helping Iraqi insurgents without presenting a shred of evidence, who knew diplomacy could be such a powerful tool for war.