Ahmadinejad Writes a Letter

| Mon May 8, 2006 1:49 PM EDT

Interesting. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposes direct talks with the Bush administration about "international problems"—presumably meaning Iran's nuclear program and the like. Maybe he's serious; maybe not. It would be nice if the White House could at least try to sit down for talks and find out.

Except that, as Kevin Drum has noted, officials in the Bush administration showed no interest in taking up similar overtures from Iran three years ago, and there's no reason to think they'd start now. Especially if Republicans could really use an international crisis to help themselves out in the midterms later this year. Maybe that's cynical. This bunch has certainly earned it.

Also, Chuck Hagel, one of those much-feted "moderate" Republicans, has an absurdly reasonable op-ed in the Financial Times arguing that Iran's nuclear program isn't an immediate crisis, that under no circumstances should we ever go to war with Iran (well, he doesn't quite say that, but he makes the case), and that the U.S. should try diplomacy. That's all quite right, but Hagel has been saying a lot of quite right things about foreign policy for the past two years, and no one at the top ever seems to listen.