“Contacts With Tehran Ended”

That’s the headline in tomorrow’s Washington Post. The Post’s article, which is based on leaks from State Department sources, says that the Administration “has cut off once-promising contacts with Iran and appears ready to embrace an aggressive policy of trying to destabilize the Iranian government.” The reason is that intelligence intercepts appear to show that al Qaeda operatives in Iran were involved in last week’s bombings in Saudi Arabia.
Apparently a meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at which policy toward Iran will be debated; this Post article is part of the State Department’s campaign for a policy of “engagement” with the Mullahs. Apparently State fears that it is about to lose the battle; the Post quotes an anonymous State Department official: “We’re headed down the same path of the last 20 years. An inflexible, unimaginative policy of just say no.”
Yeah, the State Department has been famous for its imaginative approach to Middle Eastern diplomacy. Somewhere, some time there might be a situation where the appropriate policy is something other than “engagement,” but the State Department has yet to encounter such a rare animal.
As to Iran, part of State’s argument is that the populace of that country is nowhere near as close to rebellion as some conservatives believe. Actually, I’m afraid there may be some truth to State’s position, not because Iranians are happy with the Mullahcracy, but because a successful rebellion is not easy to pull off. And I’m not confident that we have any clear idea how we can contribute to bringing about a successful revolt.

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