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Sounds crystal clear to me. Fischer has thrown in a "pretty please" request to the Iranians. They have no where to go now but to stop their nuclear advancement or face the penalty of a "pretty pretty please".

Give them the new pebble reactors developed by the Chicoms and Germany.

Then they can have nuke power they claim they need.

I am afraid that for the first time I find myself in disagreement with original posts on this blog.

Diplomacy is about trying to solve problems without war. It is usually of no help to make threats, call names, etc, publically. Would it really help find a non-military solution if the Europeans were to call the Iranians mad mullahs, criminal liars, etc, which of course they are. Teddy Roosevelt said to "speak softly and carry a big stick." A more authoritative source said that a soft answer turneth away wrath. It is not appeasement to try to find a peaceful solution to problems. It is appeasement to accept no solution in return for peace.

The US is busy right now: it has troops actively engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq. It makes perfect sense to me to let the Europeans try to be the "good cop" (even if it is the only role they know how to play) when the "bad cop" happens to have some other work to do right now. If the Europeans can make the "good cop" routine work, all well and good. If they can't, well "agendas" change, and the bad cop happens to be just around the corner.

As I have said several times, I know almost nothing about modern Germany. The little I know about Herr Fischer does not make me one of his fans. But the fact that in these particular circumstances he uses weasel words seems to have a quite satisfactory explanation. If weasel words will solve this problem, I'd rather spend thousands of weasel words than the life of a single American soldier or airman. Quite frankly, I have little hope that weasel words will solve this problem, but Bush and Rice seem to be willing to give it a shot so why should we be so quick to denigrate the wordsmiths.

I am sure that this comment will get me called appeaser, kerry voter, pacifist etc. Sorry I call 'em as I see 'em.

@Jeff

Au Contraire, Jeff, you make perfect sense. War is a last resort but the stick is always within reach so our adversaries know we are not afraid. They know this well now so let us speak softly and employ the softer approach. I am in accord with that tactic. I pray that it will be effective.

The problem is that the Europeans aren't "playing" good cop - they really really mean it when they seem like there will be no consequences for continueing to flout the will of the civilized world

Isn't this the lesson of Iraq?

The Europeans forced the US to narrowly define the goals of the mission down to WMD - and this was translated by the MSM on both sides of the Atlantic to mean "imminent threat from Iraqi WMD" and so set up Saddam with a perfect situation

Too bad for him Bush wasn't playing that game

So lets be clear - Mr Fischer isn't working the Good Cop part in cooperation with Condi's Bad Cop

Both simply mean what they say

@ Pogue

You are perhaps correct. Who knows what is in someone else's mind? So I cannot dispute your view.

All I shall say is that whether Herr Fischer is intentionally playing "good cop" or whether his mental processes are really as confused as his prose seems to indicate, he has the effect of the good cop. The mullahs see who is on either side of them and have to wonder what the undoubtedly "bad" cop will do when it has some time on its hands. So whether he is a fool or playing good cop, let's see if soem good comes of it. (I am not betting the farm on it.)

By the way, Ike used to have this famously scrambled public syntax that the leading intellectuals of the day made fun of. Guess what: it was a way of seeming to answer questions without answering them. The press fell for it time after time: poor stupid Ike's response didn't make sense. No one could accuse Ike of being unresponsive, but his response left obscure what what he really thought. So I do not consider what politicians say in response to press questions as meaning very much.

Sorry Forgot to sign prior post

Diplomacy is good, but it needs the big stick beside it. The US should indeed make it clear that it intends to use all means to prevent iranian nukes. We'd rather do it the peaceful way, but the stick is there.

Iran has become overconfident because it has seen the opposition from the world community to the Iraq war and believes the US cannot afford to push for war a second time. Iran is also counting on stalling by France, Germany & Co until it is too late and they can declare to the world: "Surprise, surprise - we did build some bombs! And by the way, we'll nuke Israel first if we feel threatened by it or by the US." Then all diplomacy and threats of war go down the toilet. Sound familiar? Anyone seen the news from North Korea? No use for diplomacy there now...

And by the way, "nuclear power for peaceful purposes" my ass.

@ Niko

That's actually the point. Iran would probably nuke Israel and the US (if possible) even't if they didn't feel threatened. This is why they should stick to using oil for generating energy.

The problem with all this Jeff is that in playing Good Cop - the Europeans give hope to the Saddams and Mullahs of the Middle East

Its just dangerous to provide any wiggle room for these sorts

A united front would do much more

After all - how much easier is it for the Mullahs to inspire the last hold outs if they can point to the support they have in Europe

@ Pogue

If after Saddam they have hope that Eurobabble will save their hides long run, they are so stupid that even a united front would escape their attention.

My German is just not up to the troll's ravings, but they seem to attain a level of comedy that really should be translated.

Not really. Let's just hope he gets put out of his misery soon.

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