Can Bush be trusted to handle Iranian overtures in good faith?

I was starting to get seriously concerned last month about the noises being made in Washington about war on Iran, most of all when Bush refused to rule out nuclear strikes. “All options are on the table.” Nuke Iran? WTF? Has he gone out of his mind?

Now that Bush is considering reopening talks with Iran, I have hope there is still sanity in Washington. But how similar is this to Bush’s plans leading up to the Iraq invasion, when he faked attempts to seek diplomatic solutions and meant all along to start the war anyway?

There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.

As a former Republican who voted for Bush twice <ducks flying tomatos> I cannot wait until this entire administration is out of power. I just hope nothing earth shattering happens between now and '08.

It concerns me greatly that Bushco is in charge during this volatile period with the Iranians.

However more to your point, he did not say he was going to war, or going to nuke Iran. He simply did not remove any options from the table, which diplomatically is probably standard.

The thing that I am concerned about is that Iran may be drawing the USA into a war in order to completely break us economically and ruin what little street cred we still have.

We’re in the middle of a long war in Iraq that’s stretching our ability to project force, and which has made the Bush administration really unpopular, has hurt his party, his influence, and his ability to push through his legislative agenda (see, for example, the recent failure to make the estate tax ban permanent). Bush and his advisors are not stupid or oblivious enough not to know that, or to know that it would be impossible both militarily and politically right now to go to war with Iran. They’re not going to do it.

One would certainly hope so. But remember who The Decider is, and *how * he decides, and keep worrying.

Without Congressional approval, W can’t drag us into any war on a scale that requires special funding appropriations.

I would find that more reassuring if there were any tendency in the current Congress to stand up to the president in matters of foreign policy.

I suspect that even this administration can’t miss the fact that the U.S. military is stretched too thin to make a war against Iran feasible, even if they want one. But I don’t trust them not to want one, and I find that in itself very discouraging when I think about the delicate situation that currently rests in their hands. I trust our current government with foreign policy less than I would trust a bunch of frat boys to guard a keg.

The President has a 35% approval rating, and it’s a Congressional election year. Congressmen want to get reelected, and you don’t do that by saying, “I’m going to blindly support anything the President, who only a third of you like, does.”

I firmly believe we can “trust” Bush not to start a war with Iran. If anyone disagrees, I’ll be happy to place a substatial wager on that. Any takers?

As for the specifics of the OP, what does she mean by negotiate “in good faith”? If that means to simply keep our word, I don’t see any reason to believe otherwise. Bush hasn’t done many things right in the last 6 years, but I don’t see any real blunders wrt the Iran situation. We’ve been letting the Europeans take the lead, and that hasn’t changed. (I can’t say that Europeans have accomplished anything, though.)

I’m much more worried about Iran negotiating in good faith than the US.

Remember his declaring them to be part of the Axis of Evil? Good way to start peaceful negotiations, that.

I don’t see any real blunders wrt the Iran situation since Bush made that rather supid comment about the Axis of Evil. :slight_smile:

Seriously, though, our position with regard to Iran and its nuclear program is in almost lock step unison with the international community (IOW, Europe). I suppose if you wanted to argue that the joint American/European bargaining posittion and process is flawed, that might be one thing. But a comparison with Iraq does not hold water. We bullied our way into that war, and would not defer to anyone. I don’t see any of that in our dealings with Iran.

Wait, Bush states that Iran is secretly pursuing WMD’s, suppresses it’s people, and sponsors extremists that threaten US and her allies, and that makes him untrustworthy dealing with Iran? If anything he said was incorrect/misleading/ or even second guessing, please enlighten me. I don’t think he could have hit the nail on the head any better.

It doesn’t make him *untrustworthy * other than to the extent that he’s making shit up (and he’s been known to indulge, right?). It *does * possibly make entering in peaceful, diplomatic discussions with him seem like a waste of time, or simply a sucker’s game, though.

Since he dropped the talk, if not the plans, about preemptively nuking the place, perhaps.

You’re missing the point. **Elvis **point out (correctly, IMO) that Bush calling them part of the Axis of Evil was a diplomatic mistake. It does nothing to advance the process of reaching the desired outcome. It could very well set it back, and it probably did. It’s also arguably incorrect. Iran’s government may be evil, but there is little or no evidence that it is in collusion with either of the other 2 nations. The “axis” does not exist even if the evil does.

You put “trust” in quotes. I believe we will not go to war with Iran, but only because Bush doesn’t have the political capital. Commander in Chief or not, you have to have some support to launch a military operation.

This is the point I really want to address. The Downing Street Memo and related documents are nothing more nor less than irrefutable proof we weren’t negotiating “in good faith,” and that we weren’t “keeping our word.” What better, more-to-the-point evidence can you even imagine that would make you believe otherwise?

The phrase is both nonproductive, misleading, and dangerous (not to mention redundant.) It implies a level of cooperation between the “Axis” which certainly doesn’t rise to evil hand-rubbing-dictator collusion levels, if it exists at all.

Moreover, unless you are to wash your hands of the whole “diplomacy” thing, uttering that phrase is about the worst thing you can do. Now, w/r/t Iraq and NK, I don’t see diplomacy as being(/having been) viable, but there is at least a residual level of sanity in Iran’s leadership that one shouldn’t aggravate unnecessarily. I know if I were an Iranian cleric I’d resent being associated with two secular megalomaniacal violent regimes (cause hey, I’m not secular or megalomaniacal!)

Also, the “evil” part also implies a washing-of-the-hands. Hey, if someone’s evil, why even bother to try to change their minds? Furthermore, by emphasizing the evil and adding it to the “Axis” part, we are implying that not only is Iran evil, it is more evil than the ideologies of Imperial Japan, Italy, and the Third Reich. Cause, you know, they were just the Axis. Not the Axis of EVIL. Stupid stupid stupid.

Now I don’t think for a second that Iran is not or will not pursue WMD and nuclear bombs if they think they can get away with it (wouldn’t you, in their shoes?) I also believe that their ideology can be safely described as evil (while still not being as evil as many other past and present regimes, especially in that region.)

But to imply that they are as irrevocably evil as Iraq’s and NK’s leadership and that they are in alliance with them to further the cause of some anti-freedom movement worldwide is false, patronizing, and counteproductive.

Sorry if there was some confusion, but I didn’t mean the quotes to imply anything other than that I was using the literal wording of the OP’s title. I did not mean to imply that trust should be interpretted loosely.

It’s irrefutabhle proof that someone in the British governmnet thought He wasn’t negotiating in good faith. That’s different from what you’re claiming. There are plenty of people (in the both the British governmnet and the American government) who will claim the opposite. However, there are enough other supporting pieces of evidence out there to conlcude that Bush was planning to go to war pretty much no matter what. Call it a nit-pick if you like, but I do agree with your conclusion if not with the reasoning that you present to support it.

However… Bush has never shown any obvious predisposition to want a war with Iran. And there are many, many reasons why such a war wouldn’t even be pracitcal, much less desireable. Unless there is a significant change in the situation, Congress absolutely will not apporve a military effort to affect regime change in Iran, nor would the American people support such an action (as they overwhelmingly did in Iraq). Those facts strongly come down in favor of a hypothesis that Bush’s negotiations are in good faith rather than the contrary position. There wasn’t much that SH could do to stop a war, but if Iran agrees to conform it’s nuclear program to the conditions laid out by the nations doing the negotiations today, there is no indication that Bush will procede with some unilateral action outside the scope of those negoations.

But we don’t know Iran is pursuing WMDs. They insist their nuclear program is exclusively for power generation. They would be fools if they meant that – fools not to learn from NK’s example – but we have no real proof one way or another.

The point is, if Bush tells us Iran is working on WMDs – based on his track record in this particular area, we have no reason to trust him, do we? You might say he’s at least more trustworthy than Ahmadinejad – but then, one might have said the same about Hussein, and look how that worked out. No WMDs.

And the other things you mention about Iran, well, they might be true but they’re not adequate reasons to go to war – are they?

If you think a guy, who was going to kill you, is now willing to negotiate because he dropped his gun, is negotiating “in good faith,” you and I have different definitions of “good faith.”

And going back to your original point,

You and I agree that Bush was planning to go to war in Iraq “no matter what,” and I assume you and I agree Bush claimed he was willing to try other avenues even though he wasn’t.

I think Bush’ track record is reason enough to believe he won’t keep his word. If you want to say he’s being honest because it’s not incovenient right now, that doesn’t make him honest. As soon as he has a reason to be dishonest he will be.