Saturday, June 27, 2009

Second guessing engagement

I felt that one of the exciting ideas proposed by candidate Obama on his path to becoming President Obama was the idea of engaging the taboo regimes of Cuba and Iran in diplomatic talks.

While I still feel this is the correct path to take with Cuba (who appears to be far down the list of threats to our nation), I am beginning to second guess engagement with Iran (at least as timing is concerned). Note that Ayatollah Khameinei's friday sermon alluded to a letter from the U.S. in the same speech he declared Iran's election issue closed and Ahmadinejad the winner. The two are not necessarily related, but it is neither ridiculous nor irresponsible to posit that the President/State Department's decision to engage Iran had something to do with Ayatollah Khameinei's decision to keep Ahmadinejad in power.

Again, the main rub here is timing. There may have been a reason why President Obama decided to act before the election, in the first six months of his presidency, and that reason may have been rational, but I am not leaning towards granting him the benefit of the doubt here (hindsight being 20/20). He could have waited until after the election, and saved himself face by not having to withdraw his party invitations and ridiculously being compared to his predecessor.