Thursday, June 08, 2006

Talking with Iran

A week ago, I wrote a post ("To My Friends on the Right") where I argued that the U.S. should attempt, in good faith, to strike a trade and investment deal with Iran, along with strict weapons restrictions and inspections.

I also stated that I was convinced by the arguments of my brilliant friend, Tom Barnett, who strongly believes that connectivity is vitally important, even in the darkest corners of the world.

Well, from the looks of things, some folks in the White House appear to be coming around to Mr. Barnett's out-of-the-box approach with Iran.

Here's an excellent recent blog entry from Tom.

Hoping on the Iran offer

That the Iranians haven't dismissed Bush's package offer yet is indeed a hopeful sign, as Bush himself noted. So the undisclosed package of economic and diplomatic connectivity, in combination with the offer to start direct talks for the first time since 79, must be substantial. If Tehran says yes by suspending (but not terminating) its uranium enrichment program, then the potential for direct talks to spill over to other security issues (something the stay-in-our-lanes crowd with this administration usually loathes to do in a weird definition of non-linkaging) is at least raised--and that alone would be cause for real optimism that the soft-kill option can work itself out over time (and administrations).

You can check out his blog here.