President Bush is scrapping plans to set up an embassy in Iran, saying that the decision is best left to the next President of the United States. Reasons for scrapping the “interest section” included not wanting to reward Iran for its continued nuclear defiance as well as not wanting to influence the Presidential race. This is an election year, after all, and Bush did not want to (allegedly) make an issue out of this.
Obama has said that he welcomes a diplomatic policy and will pursue diplomatic relations with hostile countries like Iran and North Korea if lower level advisers deem that they will be worthwhile. McCain has ridiculed Obama for this, calling him naive, and implying that he would be wiling to hand over America without a fight.
Had the “interest sector” in Iran been established, it could have been taken in one of two ways on the campaign trail.
One: It could be interpreted as a Republican President helping the Republican candidate by eliminating the debate, and under-cutting the Democratic hopeful.
Two: It could create a situation where the Republican hopeful finds himself defending a harder line position than the current Republican administration holds.
Either way, Bush decided that it was not a good idea, and I think that the nation will suffer as a result of him playing politics. But what else is new? True, the option for establishing an “interest sector” in Iran will still be there in January when the new President takes office, but so what/ Diplomacy takes time, and there is a lot that can happen between now and January. Why not take the initiative and start the diplomatic process now, politics be damned? Bush is desperately trying to better his image in the history books–hence the bailout plan that goes against his free market mentality–and here he had a chance to do just that. Sure I guess an embassy in Iran could backfire and result in a hostage crisis like the one Jimmy Carter faced, but I think that is in the “long shot consequences category”–possible but unlikely.
It is a shame that our President would play politics while stating his reason for playing politics is that he did not want to play politics. Does that make sense? No. I know, but we’re dealing with Bush here, the man who gave us the color scale for national security, told us to invest in duct tape cause that fixes everything, and declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq when really, the mission had just begun.
I’m not surprised, I’m just saddened by it all.