Originally Posted by dorfman24
I don't understand why you seem to be casting Iran as the one interested in peace and Bush as inept at dealing with them. Iran wanted negotiations a year ago when they perceived that they had the upper hand. Now, with some progress in Iraq, Bush upping the ante with the surge and several intelligence victories for the U.S. and Israel (Israel assissinated a key Iranian nuclear scientist and a key Iranian general defected to the U.S.), Iran is no longer looking to negotiate. They took the British hostages in an attempt to shift the momentum back to their side.
My broader point is that Bush should not negotiate with the Iranians from a position of weakness. The reason he has delayed is to get us in a superior position before engaging them. This is diplomacy 101.
Interpersonal Skills for Leadership Positions 101 teaches that if you can only convince the people you are working with to do what you want by threat of force, or use of military power, you find an uncooperative partner the minute you are perceived as unable to carry out the threat.
A position of strength in a negotiation comes from being completely aware of what you are negotiating for, and having more paths to follow to get it than you could possibly need. No agreement with Iran based on our present military presence will be meaningful if we leave. And, if the goal is to leave, what the hell good is having a military presence and a threat of violence as your only bargaining chip.
You get bargaining chips by playing the diplomacy game long term. You learn what the other side wants and how to give that to them in exchange for what you want. You never enter a negotiation with one, flaccid threat of violence. Our performance in Iraq militarily once the "insurgency" began is hardly one that impresses the hoardes of available Al-Qaeda and other fighters at Iran's disposal. And Iran has the where-with-all to bring the fight to American interests around the world, including our soil, if needed. Something Al-Qaeda, without Iran's resources was not able to pull off after 9-11.
Diplomacy is what is called for, and unfortunately, Bush's neocon advisors all think being right from their perspective is all that is required and diplomacy is merely a fancy word for giving away shit the other guy doesn't deserve. Without any diplomatic skills to bring to the negotiating table, that may well happen.