Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Gaffe That Didn't Bark

John McCain, yesterday:

Many believe all we need to do to end the nuclear programs of hostile governments is have our president talk with leaders in Pyongyang and Tehran, as if we haven't tried talking to these governments repeatedly over the past two decades.

Since April 7, 1980, we haven't "tried talking" to Iranian leaders at all. Not about their nuclear program. Not "repeatedly." Not once.

Since that day twenty eight years ago, it has been the stated policy of the United States of America not to have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Generally speaking, if we have something we want to say to the Iranians, we tell the Swiss and they pass it along. If the Iranians have something they want to tell us, it gets filtered through Pakistan. (The Bush administration has initiated some low level discussions, since 2001, about Iraq and Afghanistan issues.)


Personally, I think being wrong about official US policy towards Iran, and about whether recent history shows that negotiating with them won't work, is more serious than being wrong about precisely which Nazi concentration camp your great-uncle helped liberate.

In fairness, John McCain hasn't made opposing talks with Iran a centerpiece of his campaign, and this issue is not quite so manifestly relevant to U.S. policy as the whereabouts of Barack Obama's great uncle in 1945.

Oh, wait.

No comments: