Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Speaking Farsi, cont'd

Niall Ferguson, Harvard historian and annoyingly-brilliant-but-with-a-pleasant-Scottish-accent commentator on international relations, sees an opportunity for a McCain presidency to make some real headway with Iran:

On Mr Bush’s watch, Iran’s political position has got stronger. If the US quits Iraq prematurely, Persian hegemony in the Gulf could become a reality, even without nukes.

Mr Bush’s successor needs a different approach, offering a grand bargain to Tehran: economic assistance and diplomatic rapprochement for a renunciation of nuclear weapons and terrorism. Sounds implausible? No more so than Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon’s opening to Maoist China in 1972. But which of today’s presidential candidates could pull it off? Surely not foreign policy novices like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee. Surely not the fire-breathing Rudy Giuliani, a paid-up believer in world war four. Surely not, Iran being what it is, a woman.

Step forward John McCain. For who could more credibly put the next world war on ice than a veteran of Vietnam, itself a subplot in the third world’s war?

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