My Cardboard Box

Profiles in ‘Classic Conservatism’

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From the Washington Note:

I have just secured a private letter — not yet publicly released — from Senator Chuck Hagel to President Bush and copied to Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Stephen Hadley. I should add that I did not receive this letter from Senator Hagel but from other sources. The letter urges the President to pursue “direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran.”

In the letter, both attached (Hagel letter pdf)… Hagel warns that “unless there is a strategic shift [from the current situation], I believe we will find ourselves in a dangerous and increasingly isolated position in the coming months.” Hagel continues, “I do not see how the collective actions that we are now taking will produce the results that we seek.” Senator Hagel encourages President Bush to take the bold strategic step of offering a completely different course for US-Iran relations. He writes about direct unconditional talks:

An approach such as this would strengthen our ability across the board to deal with Iran. Our friends and allies would be more confident to stand with us if we seek to increase pressure, including tougher sanctions on Iran. It could create a historic new dynamic in US-Iran relations, in part forcing the Iranians to react to the possibility of better relations with the West. We should be prepared that any dialogue process with Iran will take time, and we should continue all efforts, as you have, to engage Iran from a position of strength. We should not wait to consider the option of bilateral talks until all other diplomatic options are exhausted. At that point, it could well be too late.

This letter is a call for serious, level-headed rationality from one of the Senate’s most stalwart “classic conservatives.”

I have since learned that the letter somehow made its way to US Central Command Commander William Fallon, perhaps through Defense Secretary Gates or other avenues, and Fallon allegedly communicated with the Senator that serious articulations of American interests and consideration of the options Hagel recommends are much needed in this current political and policy environment.

And from the letter:

I write to urge you to consider pursuing direct, unconditional and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran. … Unless there is a strategic shift, I believe we will find ourselves in a dangerous and increasingly isolated position in the coming months. I do not see how the collective actions that we are now taking will produce the results that we seek. If this continues, our ability to sustain a united international front will weaken as countries grow uncertain over our motives and unwilling to risk open confrontation with Iran, and we are left with fewer and fewer policy options.

Steve Clemons, the Washington Note’s owner, is a Senior Fellow & Director at the New America Foundation. Apparently he’s on very good terms with the Senator.
Suffice it to say if what Mr. Clemons wrote later in that post is true, look for Admiral Fallon’s ‘retirement’ as an indicator that things with Iran are have reached the critical stage.

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Written by PappyBro

November 1, 2007 at 04:39

Posted in Politix, WoT

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