Border Math: A Study in Priorities

A rare crack in the fortified wall of the Bush administration’s diplomatic obstinacy seemed to appear as U.S. diplomats sat down in March with their Iranian and Syrian counterparts to discuss stability in Iraq.  Foreign-policy realists of both parties hailed the move as a potential breakthrough: Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) offered a characteristically self-righteous lecture, while Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), the enigmatic might-be presidential candidate, echoed, “We will not achieve peace and stability in Iraq without a regional framework that includes Iran and Syria.”

This apparent crack in the wall turned out to be an illusion, however, as the opportunity to engage one another face-to-face represents not honest hope for progress but a platform for one-upmanship by both the United States and her regional adversaries.

Despite being targeted for attack by the same neoconservative hawks who pushed us into Iraq, Iran could afford the most happy-go-lucky attitude toward the talks, considering that, whatever their outcome, she would continue to exert substantial influence on political developments in Iraq through Shiite political parties.  As Srdja Trifkovic describes the Iranian perspective, “They are playing Iraq for the long term, and they know that if they play their hand right, it may fall into their lap like a ripe fruit.”  Iran will want significant incentives if she agrees...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here