THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 27, 2009
I don't know whether Roger Cohen of The New York Times is doing penance over Yom Kippur or not, and I certainly don't care. But, if he does, he has a lot for which to atone, as I have written here several times. Basically, he has been an apologist for the Ahmadinejad tyranny that is openly intent on obliterating Israel. Not that he especially likes the swarthy waif of a man with the open collar; Dr. A'jad is too crude for an old Balliol man like Cohen. Still, he does make excuses for the regime and is eager to look away the sinister interpretations of its behavior. You know, like Pat Buchanan about Hitler.
As it happens, however, I agree with one point in his International Herald Tribune column today. "Sanctions won't work." And he quotes Ray Takeya, a realistic fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, as saying that "sanctions are the feel-good option."
Well, actually, since I also know they won't work, they don't make me feel good at all.
But Cohen doesn't leave it at that. And, thank God, he says he has a way out of the morass, for which he credits William Burns, Hillary's undersecretary for political affairs. He drew the short straw and "will attend multilateral talks with Iran starting Thursday."
Cohen has prepared an agenda for the undersecretary.
Burns must seek to open a parallel bilateral U.S.-Iran negotiation covering at least these area: Afghanistan and Iraq (where interests converge); Hezbollah and Hamas (where they do not); human rights; blocked Iranian assets; diplomatic relations; regional security arrangements; drugs; the fight against Al Qaeda; visas and travel.
Is that all? No. Cohen writes that the regime "actually feels threatened by George Soros." But he gives no hints about how we can calm these palpitations of the exchequer heart.