June 5, 2006


Iran's China Syndrome (Jackson Diehl, June 5, 2006, Washington Post)

In the middle of a tirade about the pointlessness of talking with the Bush administration, a senior Iranian official I met in Tehran last month abruptly paused and asked if he could speak off the record. Then he said: "What we need is an American president who will follow the example of Richard Nixon going to China."

There in a nutshell is what this Iranian government, and most Iranians I've spoken to, fervently desire from the United States: not the tactical talks offered last week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice but strategic recognition of Iran as a great civilization and a regional power that must be treated, like China, as a "stakeholder" in global affairs. Grant us that, said the Iranian official I saw, and "just as with China, you'll find a government that is more responsive to your concerns, more willing to play a cooperative role."

Go there, but then blow off Ahmedinejad.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 5, 2006 3:43 PM

I generally agree with OJ on Iran. However, this will be tricky. In going to China, we also recognized a Maoist tyranny. It will be tricky not to legitimize a theocratic one in Iran. We have long stated that we acknowledge the greatness of the Persians, who make up about half the Iranian populace. A state visit risks propping up the regime that the euros are more than happy to deal with.

Posted by: JAB at June 5, 2006 4:32 PM

Blow off ?!?!? How about "blow up"?

Posted by: obc at June 5, 2006 4:48 PM

He's an elected leader, even if not a popular one. we can ignore him, but not kill him.

Posted by: oj at June 5, 2006 4:54 PM

Why bother. He's self-destructing.

Posted by: erp at June 5, 2006 5:56 PM

W ought to visit while Ahmedinejab is in Germany watching the world cup.

Posted by: Dave W at June 5, 2006 10:41 PM

Our president at a soccer match? Yuck. What's next curling?

Posted by: erp at June 6, 2006 4:43 PM

No erp, I'm saying that W ought to visit Iran while A is in Germany for the game.

Posted by: Dave W at June 7, 2006 10:20 PM