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Archive for March, 2004

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004


Al Jazeera is claiming that ” hardliners ” in the Bush administration are blocking the opening of talks with Iran to conclude a ” grand bargain ” that would resolve issues of nuclear weapons and terrorism and lead to a restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

This isn’t the first time such stories of Iranian feelers have surfaced. If the report is reasonably accurate, bureaucratic caution may have more to do with ” blocking talks ” than neocon ideology. While views about Iran differ among working analysts and junior officials at State, the CIA, the NSC and the Pentagon, few senior officials have pollyannish hopes for the nature of the Khameini-Rafsanjani clique. The United States is already supporting an IAEA and EU dialogue with Iran so the Bush administration would have little to lose and much goodwill to gain with allies by allowing exploratory talks with Iran – if the Iranian side’s representatives were empowered to conduct actual negotiations. In such an event, negotiations could produce some real progress on moderating the worst behavior of the regime at a cheap price.

The first rule of any negotiation is not to allow oneself to be drawn in to a charade with powerless intermediaries where the other side’s true decision makers sit removed in order to enigmatically veto the results of each round of talks in order to cajole further concessions. Iran most likely has not put up a figure of credibility yet who can deliver on promises and has instead suggested a series of shadowy, unofficial, middlemen to talk to American officials. If that is what has occurred it’s either a stalling tactic with an eye on our upcoming elections or a preliminary fishing expedition by the Iranians to sound out potential American negotiating positions. Or both.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004


“It is clear that using force is not the answer to resolving the conflict with terrorists.”

European Commission President Romano Prodi

Perhaps he will lead the West’s surrender delegation to Osama’s cave. It’s time to stop pretending that leftist EU officials like Prodi are anything but al Qaida’s fifth column. They are neither allies of the United States in this war nor willing defenders of their own people. They can go their own way if they wish but appeasement will not buy safety or peace from Islamist terror


Howard Dean

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004


Oscar Chamberlain, one of the contributors to the HNN blog Cliopatra gave me an honorable mention today – much obliged Oscar !

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004


I have to apologize for my light posting of late. I have impending nuptials this weekend and the overwhelming ” to-do ” list composed by the future Mrs. Zenpundit for the upcoming affair has proven more than either one of us can manage well. Particularly me. Hopefully, I can get a few more items posted tonight while I still have any readers left.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004


It is unfortunate that al Qaida has managed to effect the outcome of a democratic election to at least some degree through terrorism to bring anti-war Euro-Left Socialists in to power in that country. The blogosphere is in a fury over the subject ( see Calpundit’s comment board) with polar opposite views represented well by Micheal Radu and Juan Cole.

I hasten to point out that the sky has not fallen on the War on Terror – in Iraq, Spain’s contribution was much appreciated by Washington but it was relatively modest. The Spanish and our other allies are in Iraq partially because of America’s Rumsfeldian determination to fight the war with a peacetime army – had we spent more on soldiers we might be spending less on Iraq because fewer problems might have emerged after Saddam’s fall.

Spanish capitualtion to the Euro-Left opposition on Iraq is more significant as propaganda than it is in military terms – I’m sure jihadis, Salafist radicals and other Islamists took heart – as have left-Liberal anti-war Democrats – but that’s about it.

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