Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When the Dick's away...

Dick Cheney reacts upon learning that the US State Department has
invited both Iran and Syria to join in talks regarding
the security of
Iraq, while he was being accosted by Australians, spreading doubt about
the North Korean nuclear agreement, and being bombed in Afghanistan.
Cheney says he now suspects that Condoleezza Rice was involved
with the recent bombing attempt on his life at Bagram airforce base.
In fact, he says, he's certain of it.

It is interesting that when Dick Cheney is removed from the hoary climes of the Washington's political scene, smatterings of good sense seem to break out. While Cheney was harrumphing around Australia and Asia, Condoleezza Rice and her State Department exercised what appeared to be good sense by inviting Iran and Syria to talks with Iraq and the US regarding Iraq's security situation. Many suspect that this may be simply a ploy entered into with no intent of good intentions, designed to prove, once and for all, that diplomacy won't work. This is the wretched state of mind the Bush administration has induced across the country; that a normally aspirational attempt at rational discourse and diplomacy is now more likely viewed as cynical gamesmanship in pursuit of an already agreed, ignominious agenda. Others have argued that the administration simply had no choice, as Yglesias says,
The administration, in short, may simply be caught up in the incoherence of its own strategy. Rice and other officials have taken to describing American policy in the region as driven by efforts to check Iranian influence. Nevertheless, the war in Iraq remains at the heart of this new US policy every bit as much as it was at the heart of the old. Thus, paradoxically, the administration ends up arguing that the influx of thousands of additional troops to fight on behalf of an Iraqi government - a government dominated by Shia political parties tied to Iran - would somehow help efforts to isolate Iran.
A decent argument, of course, though I remain unsure as to why Yglesias thinks this administration would suddenly be given toward recognizing incoherence in its strategy or, indeed, that such incoherence is even a problem. It's not like that has ever bothered them before.

Which brings us to perhaps the one feature of Rice's move that lends to it some degree of authenticity: Cheney was nowhere around. While Rice was all too willing to cover, i.e. lie, for Cheney on the issue of the 2003 Iranian negotiation offer, once the Dick's away the Rice will play.

We know that both Bolton and Cheney were furious with Rice when, in June of 2006, she offered direct negotiations with Iran regarding the nuclear dispute, despite the preordained doom she attached to the offer by setting preconditions. Well, Notlob got the boot, Cheney was a long way away, and Rice stepped up with the most sensible action toward calming tensions. She is working in direct opposition to the Cheney agenda and I expect she will take a lot of heat from right wing extremists in various chatterbox centers.

Rice is a curious feature of this administration. At once, willing to lie and cover for her dreadful bosses, while exhibiting -- certainly not always, but at times -- a genuine effort to actually do the right thing. It's spotty, I know, but occasionally she can surprise. Such brief flickers of hope must always be tempered by reflection on the previous point that it all could be just sham. We've been down this dirt road before.


Blogger Demon Princess said...

Great post, bitingly funny, & oh so true. I've often wondered myself how she does it. Personally, I think she's really a robot.

1:23 AM  

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