Top Diplomat in the Country
I don't know what diplomatic skills got Condoleezza Rice the job as Secretary of State... oh, wait, that's right, skill and talent doesn't get you a job in the Bush White House, only loyalty. Well, that point was cemented home by her response to yesterday's surprise letter from Iran.
I'm not saying that we should immediately respond to all the demands in the letter and kick off an era of friendship with our new Persian brothers. Indeed, the excerpts from the Times Online are largely a rambling mess. But clearly this letter, the first direct contact between the United States and Iran in 27 years, represents a negotiating point from which to launch into substantive issues. Just the fact that Iran is writing to "the Great Satan" is cause for optimism.
What was the top diplomatic official in the country's response to this?
Rice: Iran Letter Doesn't Resolve Standoff
Oh really? One letter didn't wrap the whole thing up in a nice bow? You mean we might have to sit down at a table and TALK to these people?
"This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort," the top U.S. diplomat said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It isn't addressing the issues that we're dealing with in a concrete way."
She would not discuss the contents in detail but made clear that the United States would not change its tack on Iran.
"There's nothing in here that would suggest that we're on any different course than we were before we got the letter," Rice said.
I'll tell you what suggests a different course: THE LETTER ITSELF! I can't believe we have a Secretary of State that doesn't value dialogue. Her entire job description is to foster dialogue between the US and other countries.
Diplomacy, of course, is not what these guys want and it's not how they operate. They've deliberately stayed out of negotiations between Iran and the West in the hopes that they would fail. Of course, they would fail, because the only country with anything to offer Iran is the US. Now Iran tries to directly engage, not for the first time I might add (in 2003 they used back channels to try and start a dialogue with the US over Iraq), and our response is the big blow-off.
We simply have to speak with our enemies. That's what diplomacy is all about. Unless we have an endless supply of young boys ready to sign up and die in about 100 foreign wars, we have to resolve conflicts diplomatically. It's just stupid to dismiss these things out of hand.