Apparently Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was a little surprised:
At the meeting, Iran had been expected to respond to a package of incentives offered in exchange for halting enrichment of uranium, which can be used to fuel atomic weapons. The Bush administration broke with long-standing policy to send a top diplomat to support the offer.
However, Rice said that instead of a coherent answer, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili delivered a “meandering” monologue full of irrelevant “small talk about culture” that appeared to annoy many of the others present at the table in Geneva.
“We expected to hear an answer from the Iranians but, as has been the case so many times with the Iranians, what came through was not serious,” Rice told reporters aboard her plane as she flew to the United Arab Emirates. “It’s time for the Iranians to give a serious answer.”
I have a question for Secretary Rice: how could you have “expected” an answer this time, but yet you admit the Iranians have a long history of not taking these negotiations seriously?
Can someone explain that to me? Apparently I’m not as enlightened as Secretary Rice.
But this brings up, yet again, the issue of what exactly is going on with this Iranian situation.
I stand by what I have been saying for about year now: and that’s Bush has either abandoned his own philosophy (the Bush Doctrine) and refuses to apply it to Iran, or he is scared of the Iranian threat or he believes he has stretched the military too thin to act.
It’s one or the other.
I do find it very curious that we decided within the last couple of weeks to send William Burns to the Iranian negotiations and that–thought not perfectly–coincides with all of this talk about sending some of the troops withdrawn from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Here’s my theory on this: prior to the last two weeks or so we had started to ramp up our rhetoric and there was a lot more speculation about a potential U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran. Also, there was certainly no mention of sending someone to these negotiations–at least not a high-level official.
Now we move into the last couple of weeks and we start hearing more and more about the successes in Iraq, but also about the resurgence of problems in Afghanistan and the need to send more troops to deal with that threat.
Could this be the reason for the sudden desire to change course on Iran? If so, it clearly demonstrates that so long as we’re in Afghanistan and Iraq it will be very unlikely that we would launch any sort of attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Stephen Hayes over at The Weekly Standard has a good piece out today documenting the hypocrisy and acquiescence of the Bush administration’s actions on Iran and North Korea.