POLITICS-US: Realists Rack Up Another Win
Analysis by Jim Lobe*
WASHINGTON, Jul 16 (IPS) - In the seemingly never-ending internal battle between hawks and realists in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush for control of foreign policy, the realists appear to have chalked up another win over their once-dominant foes.
The decision to send the State Department's third-ranking official to Geneva Saturday to join talks between the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security and Germany, on the one hand, and Iran, one of the three charter members of Bush's "Axis of Evil", on the other, marks a significant relaxation of administration policy which, until now, had insisted it would not participate in direct talks until Tehran froze its uranium enrichment programme.
Combined with other recent actions and statements by senior administration officials, the move also strongly suggests that Bush intends to leave office next January without launching yet military attack against a predominantly Islamic nation, even if the future of Iran's nuclear programme remains unsettled by the time of his departure.
"What this does show is how serious we are when we say that we want to try to solve this diplomatically," Bush spokesperson Dana Perino told reporters in confirming that Undersecretary of State for Policy William Burns will sit at the same table with Iran's nuclear envoy Saeed Jalili, even if his role will formally be confined to "listening", as the White House insists.
Analysts compare the latest move to the realists' victory over the hawks...