Yesterday, the BBC brought news of another apparent flip-flop on the part of the Bush administration, this time in their Iran policy. While senior administration officials have until now been denigrating the EU’s talks with Tehran, the White House is now apparently considering “economic incentives” should Iran kowtow to their demands and give up any semblance of a nuclear programme.
That change of tone is certainly one for the better. There are clear advantages to Iran in having nuclear technology, whether for energy generation or for weapons, and the argument thus far presented of “but we don’t want you to have them” doesn’t carry much water. But the administration really should have thought of this approach a little earlier. Playing good cop/bad cop single-handed just doesn’t work — your opponent is unlikely to be fooled, and has a good chance of poking fun at your expense.