Michael O’Hanlon suggests we undertake bad faith negotiations with Iran in order to “prove” that the Iranians are stubborn and thereby gain more support for hawkish policies. The pseudonymous Dr. Irack, who it would probably be more viable to quote if he used his real name, suggests that this may be O’Hanlon’s audition for a job at the American Enterprise Institute. I would say it’s more of a sign that his bridges to the Democratic Party are sufficiently burned that he’s now looking for a post in the McCain administration.
This is, however, one reason I’m sort of glad that Bush rejected the Iraq Study Group’s eminently reasonable advice that he seek a diplomatic settlement with Iran. A new diplomatic effort could, if undertaken in good faith, produce enormous gains for the United States. But bad faith diplomacy of the sort O’Hanlon suggests could be an effective political tool to trying to secure public and congressional support for disastrous escalation of the conflict.