I have to tell you, I sincerely believe that my five-year-old son would have handled the recent letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which, among other things, proposed discussions between the United States and Iran, with far more finesse than was shown by Condoleezza Rice. I ought to know, he finesses me into the ground almost every day.
Dad: “You need to pick up your clothes.”
Son: (Ignores request.)
Dad: “I said pick up your clothes, please.”
Son: “Those aren’t my clothes.”
Dad: “Yes they are.”
Son: “No. Those are Callie’s clothes (the golden retriever).”
Dad: (Smothering laughter.) “Pick up your clothes, now.”
Son: (Emphatic voice.) “But they’re Callie’s clothes!”
Dad: “Fine, then pick up Callie’s clothes.”
Son: “But I can’t.”
Dad: “And why not?”
Son: “Because I could get arrested.”
Dad: (Shakes head and walks away).
Given his knack for such things, here’s how I think my five-year-old would have responded to Ahmadinejad’s letter: First, he would probably have agreed with Rice that it was likely a trick designed to change the subject from nuclear nonproliferation (that is, after all, what he would have done if he were in Ahmadinejad’s position).
But, unlike the current secretary of state, my five-year-old would have realized that responding to the Iranian President’s invitation to dialogue with a flat no would accomplish nothing other than making the United States the bad guy in the view of the world — again. So instead, I think my son would have done one of the things he does best — changed the subject.
My guess is, if he had been secretary of state, he would have written (well, okay, had me write) a reply to Ahmadinejad’s nutty missive, ignoring its actual wording, but, instead, telling him how happy he was to have heard from him and how he hoped the two could get together right away, maybe even in just a day or two, to talk about how the United States could help Iran satisfy United Nations’ requirements on nuclear nonproliferation, including the new resolutions that would soon be adopted, without anyone getting mad. Once that was over, they could talk about anything else Ahmadinejad wanted to talk about.
If that had been done, of course, it would probably have been Iran, rather than the United States, which would have said no to proposed talks.
And if that had happened, we wouldn’t now be reading stories like this:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s abrupt dismissal of a letter from Iran’s president might only strengthen hardline attitudes and mistrust of America, some Iranians warned Tuesday.
As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a high-profile visit to a key Muslim country, Indonesia, a former top Iranian official said Rice’s response will give new justification to those who oppose ties with the U.S.
Iran’s former ambassador to France, Sadeq Kharrazi, said the letter — the first from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years — “could have been a turning point in relations.” But he said Rice squandered the opportunity with what he called a “hasty reaction.”
“This gives a pretext to those in Iran who oppose re-establishment of ties with America,” he said.
The more time that goes by the less I find myself worrying about the fact Bush, Inc. is filled with liars and criminals, and the more I simply worry about their utter inability to do their jobs in a halfway competent fashion. How could Rice possibly have failed to grasp how much her snitty dismissal of Ahmadinejad’s letter would play into the hardliner’s hands? Has she and the rest of the Bush crowd simply never heard of the concept of nuance.
Now, before anyone gets too excited, the truth is my five-year-old would never accept the job of secretary of state; it would cut into his Game Boy time too much.
Considering that this means the current Bush team will remain in place, I have to say it’s America’s loss.
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