putting the jack back in the jack in the box

The Washington Post has done us pikers in the hinterlands a favor by publishing an editorial lavish in its praise of the Administration’s offer to talk to Iran. The praise tells us that the offer is a joke, and the editorial makes it clear that the offer is a joke, cut from much the same comedy routine that was played, in the fall of 2002, as the administration pretended that it wanted the sanction of the U.N. to play cop against Iraq for violating U.N. sanctions. Since the WAPO editorial board speaks in the forked tongue specialized in by Fred Hiattish/Charles Krauthammerish kinds of think tankers, their support for the Bush initiative is a signal from the V.P., Darth Vader, that this is a sop to fools.

However, the real fools are the V.P. and our war criminal Department of War guy, Donald Rumsfeld. While they want a war and they want it now, the idea that the U.S. is now going to show it gave an inch and should be rewarded with the landing of troops on the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf and a triumphant march to Teheran isn’t going to happen. The majority in the world, unlike the majority of the editorial board of WAPO, understands the rank hypocrisy of rewarding those powers that didn’t sign the nuclear treaty and have gone ahead and developed weapons – India, Pakistan, and Israel – while putting sanctions leading to war on Iran for basically violating the fine print of a nuclear treaty. In essence, the U.S. policy in the Bush years has been -- we reserve the right to overthrow regimes we don't like on flimsy pretenses. It is an extension of the U.S. policy in Central and South America low these many years. It has cracked there, and its crackup globally is right before our eyes.

The thing about re-running comedy routines is – we get to know the jokes. The Jacks are all out of the Jack in the boxes, and though we stuff them back in, close the lid, and then open it again, the jacks aren’t going to surprise those of us who are mentally over the age of two. This means, of course, that Bush’s latest ploy will be ferociously backed by the usual zombie segment of the population, who will dart rays of disdain at anyone who doubts the utter sincerity of the White House – and, as the White House contradicts itself, will insist that the series of contradictions are part of one overarching truth. LI has written before that we don’t believe that the Bushies will bomb Iran – we think the domestic risks are too high. Oil spiking to one hundred a barrel will simply bury the GOP in the South, a gashogging part of the country that deserts those leaders that would put a dent in the three car garage life style. The filibustering spirit is one thing, being able to drive the jacked up truck down to the grocery store for a loaf of bread is another. Given the way in which the administration is playing with the national guard like a game of pick up sticks, and given that the guard will no doubt be unavailable for a crucial three or four days in late summer when another hurricane eats up another American coastal area, our idea is that the house limit on military action might be very near.

Typically, the offer of talks, which in 2001 would have, perhaps, been of crucial importance to the moderates, is now going to shore up the politics of Ahmadinejad, who we believe may be very underrated in the U.S. – because he is an Antisemite from hell who seems bent on pruning back the open society (however tiny the advance towards open society was under Khatami). There is a tendency to talk him down on the anti-war end, and to talk up the reasonable mullahs, which eerily echoes what was said in the beginning of Iranian revolution about Khomeini – you’ll remember, Khomeini was a flash in the pan, and the real forces of Iranian politics, whoever they were, were going to take over the state, using Khomeini as a convenient figurehead. Juan Cole recently wrote a blog about Ahmadinejad’s essential mock status, for instance. But at the moment, we are more convinced by Ray Takeyh’s view of the evolving nature of Ahmadinejad’s power.