Saturday, March 12, 2005

Still talking tough on North Korea. Those who think the incentives offered to Iran were a concession are misinterpreting the move by Bush. Iran officials don't have the diplomatic demeanor to play the game North Korea did of taking the incentives and ignoring the obligations.

For the Iranians, being seen by the world as folding on the issue of proceeding with nuclear development would be tantamount to losing face, its a question of honor. Its something we have seen and heard mentioned before with Saddam Hussein and generally in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan.

Incentives was a gambit Bush took because the outcome is certain. The immediate response by Iran will not change much with time or additional incentive packages. Thus Bush's move backs both the Europeans and the Iranians into corners - the Europeans into the corner of having to eventually support US positions or breaking faith with the US, and the Iranian government into further marginalization and confrontation with a growing number of nations.

Bush's policy with Iran is no different than with North Korea in this respect. It is just a matter of the road taken to get to the same destination.

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