Recently, US diplomatic relations with Iran took a turn for the better, as Secretary Rice signals that the US is willing to practice diplomacy with Iran.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday the United States is willing to look at creative ways to get Iran to halt nuclear activities that could lead to a bomb. She held firm that the U.S. won't discuss rewards for Iran until it meets that condition.
The top U.S. diplomat signaled support for a behind-the-scenes effort to strike a technical and semantic compromise that could allow Iran to stop, or suspend, disputed activities and open the door for international negotiations.
It's significant change worthy of note, and a sign that in the White House, at last, the forces of good are overcoming the forces of evil.
The Guardian (UK) explains more in this May 27 commentary:
Tomorrow's meeting between the Iranian and American ambassadors in Baghdad marks a remarkable opportunity. It comes after months of tension between Washington and Tehran over Iran's nuclear programme. US allegations of Iranian meddling in Iraq and Lebanon seemed to augur war. But, quietly, another approach has been developing. The meeting, the second between US and Iranian officials in recent months, signals a subtle change in the Bush administration.
White House policy is more complex than some of the bellicose noises coming out of Washington suggest. A power struggle has been going on for President Bush's ear between Vice-President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The former is implacably opposed to dealing with the Islamic republic; the latter advocates cautious engagement. While the Cheney camp has been the noisier, it appears that the Rice camp is in the ascendant. While Cheney acolytes such as former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton have taken to the airwaves making the case for war, Ms Rice has privately been reassuring US allies that Mr Bolton does not speak for Mr Bush, and that Washington intends to follow the diplomatic route.
Tomorrow's meeting is not the first sign of a more pragmatic policy emerging. President Bush remarked recently that he would be guided in the Middle East by the Iraq Survey Group, the independent commission which last year investigated the Iraq war. One of its key recommendations was negotiating with Iran and Syria.
For years the State Department was sidelined by ideologues in the Pentagon and the Vice-President's Office. Their view was that the only way to handle Iran was to agitate for regime change. For various reasons - not least the military quagmire in Iraq - that is no longer a workable approach, if indeed it ever was. It is true that Iran is not easy to deal with. Its nuclear ambitions remain a serious threat to Western interests. But disliking a country's leadership is not a reason to refuse dialogue. The reality of the balance of power in the Middle East is that the US cannot ignore Tehran.
Unbridled belligerence has failed. The reassertion in Washington of pragmatic diplomacy, of readiness to engage with enemies, is welcome. It is a move in the right direction.
President Bush opening the door to Russian President Putin is yet another sign of the welcomed and long overdue changes that have occurred since the 2006 election. See Wizbang Blue's Paul Hooson's excellent report for more.
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