Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ending Diplomacy Before It's Begun?

The Times reports that:

"At a Gaza donors’ conference in Egypt on Monday, Mrs. Clinton told the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates that she did not believe that Iran would respond positively to the Obama administration’s offer of direct talks."

Everyone knows (presumably including Secretary Clinton) that the UAE is embroiled in a conflict with Iran over ownership of a small chain of islands, and that the UAE would be interested in de-railing any US rapprochement with Iran. So why make a comment like this? Was it calculated? - to signal to Israel and other allied states (Egypt and Saudi Arabia) that their interests were still more important than healing the rift between Iran and the US? True, Iran has made far fewer "good faith" demonstrations than has Assad's regime in Syria (which has lost significant domestic capital each time it did so). Either way, comments like these damage diplomatic efforts - even before they've begun . . . .

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