Analysts say Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Monday comments in Doha signal the start of a “new, more confrontation chapter in the Obama Administration’s dealings with Iran,” after spending about a year giving lip service to the idea of diplomacy.
In the comments, Clinton declared that Iran’s “Islamic Republic” was at risk from growing military influence, and argued that a new flurry of sanctions against Iran were needed to save the Supreme Leader and the president from the military.
The change in rhetoric was actually surprisingly stark, as only a day before National Security Adviser James Jones argued on Fox News that a new flurry of sanctions against Iran were needed to oust the Supreme Leader and the president and install a more US-friendly government.
Robert Gibbs even chimed in yesterday with his own declaration that the US would not rule out attacking Iran. Though the formal position seems to change by the day, it is clear that the “diplomacy” track is being abandoned in favor of the Bush policy of threats and sanctions.
Not that diplomacy will be abandoned publicly, as officials will continue to insist that they are seeking diplomacy, at least nominally, so they can accuse Iran of refusing to accept talks. Since the Iranian government just got done accepting a Western demand only to have it roundly condemned and the rhetoric stumble along more or less unchanged, it seems officials are already comfortable with ignoring reality when it gets in the way of the narrative.