President Bush frequently says that “we are working with European allies” to use diplomacy to avert a nuclear impasse with Iran.
What exactly does that mean, you ask? Maybe toning down our heated rhetoric, or reassuring Iran we’re not planning an attack? Helping to cool down tensions in the Middle East so talks can proceed smoothly — or even joining the Europeans in the negotiations?
Uh, not quite. Here are some ways the White House has “supported” the talks over the past few weeks:
- 1) Refused to actually participate in negotiations, despite warnings from European diplomats and the IAEA that the talks will likely fail without U.S. involvement
2) Casually suggested that Israel may unilaterally attack Iran, and later implied the U.S. would likely support such a move, despite IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei’s warning that such talk “only makes [Iran] more determined to acquire a nuclear deterrent”
3) Announced the U.S. military is updating its war plans for a possible attack on Iran (though insisting the update is “routine”)
4) Waged a campaign to oust the U.N.’s widely-supported nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, using wiretaps on ElBaradei’s phone and alleged leaks of false information.
5) Pressuring European nations to designate Hizballah (an organization that includes both violent Islamists as well as more moderate, popularly elected politicians) as a terrorist group — a move Europeans have considered in the past, but which they consider horribly timed now since it would seriously undermine the nuke talks with Iran
Could it be — gasp! — the White House doesn’t really want the talks to succeed?