The White House seems to have a default position whenever it’s asked about Iran, which is to claim that it’s “pursuing the diplomatic track,” or something to that effect. Every time I hear it, I start waiting for some reporter to stand up and tell Dana Perino, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” On Tuesday, the claim that we’re using diplomacy was buttressed by the point that Bush is meeting with the leaders of France and Germany next week. Can’t help but notice, though, how that’s not meeting with Iran.
See, it’s a funny thing about diplomacy. It requires intricate, obscure techniques, like talking to the other country. Not labeling their military a supporter of terrorists and freezing their assets. Not warning third parties that inaction will lead to Armageddon. If they were serious about this, they’d be proposing high-level talks at a nice resort on the French Riviera next month. That way, best case, they solve the differences between the two nations; worst case, they spent a week in Nice. Not much downside there. Beyond that, it’s not like it would lose Bush any political support. He’s already more than established his “tough-on-terror” credentials. To go ubergeek for a moment and use the post’s second obscure quote: “There is an old Vulcan proverb: only Nixon could go to China.” Same deal here. Of course, it’s so logical and so potentially worthwhile that it’s totally guaranteed that Bush won’t do it.
Instead, they’ll stick to what they’ve been doing: letting Cheney ramp up the rhetoric while Secretary Rice tells the Iranians that she’d be glad to talk to them about their nuclear program, just as soon as they agree to give up their nuclear program. Take a moment to digest the logic behind that one.
Oddly enough, it’s not an attitude limited to foreign policy. Check out the first set of answers regarding the Mukasey nomination here (video from TPM):
See, Senate Democrats who are worried that Michael Mukasey might be a radical authoritarian who’s OK with letting the President waive Congressional law, ignore judicial orders, and allow American agents to torture prisoners? Just give him the keys to the Justice Department! Then you’ll have all the answers you want when you ask him to testify again. Or, possibly, when the Deputy AG arrives on the steps of the Capitol to inform you that your services are no longer necessary and the Executive Branch will take it from here.