The situation between the U.S. and Iran is one that seemingly won’t fade away, however devoutly some of us wish it would. And while it is arguable which nation, Iran or the U.S., stokes the flames of the present low intensity contretemps the most, (I would argue the U.S does by a wide margin for several simple, but not simplistic reasons. First, the U.S. is clearly on a mission to re-assert control of the region’s energy supplies and Iran is a key player displaying an alarming penchant for defying U.S. aims in the region. Second, the U.S. has, despite Iran’s growing ties to Russia and China, far more wherewithal, geo-politically, militarily, and otherwise, to be disruptive.) it is clear that a near term resolution of U.S. and Iranian differences is not in the offing.
In fact, the International Herald Tribune reports that Darth, er, Dick Cheney has recently issued another warning to the Iranians. And while the substance of the rotund Vice President’s latest adumbration was nothing new, the location used to deliver his address, the aircraft carrier, John C. Stennis, located a mere 250 miles offshore from Iran in the Persian Gulf, was unique in its menacing aspect.
Interestingly, as the International Herald Tribune reports, “It also came just a week after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talked briefly and inconclusively with Iran's foreign minister, a step toward re-engagement with Iran that some in the administration have opposed.” http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?id=5675647
Are we in the land of good cop, bad cop, with respect to the present U.S. posture towards Iran, and if so, what, if anything, can be gleaned by this new strategy? Is this indeed even part of a new, well thought out approach? After all, we are talking about arguably the most bungling administration in U.S. history, so it is more than reasonable, it is prudent, to wonder if this is merely the sign of further disarray and confusion on the part of the Bush administration as it oscillates between different approaches at bringing Iran to heel. We will have to wait and see, but given the miserable track record of the Bush administration, it is very difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to the notion that the apparent turn towards good cop, bad cop is more by design than not.