Why Won't Obama Negotiate with Iran?

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Ben Cohen
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Glenn Greenwald asks why the formerly pro negotiating Obama won't negotiate with Iran:

We have now a great irony: America's increasingly tense and dangerous conflict with Iran is characterized (one could even say caused) by the unwillingness of the Obama administration to engage meaningfully with Iran's leaders. After a few early, symbolic gestures, it has been the administration's refusal to pursue the most fruitful path for resolving the various disputes between the two nations — namely, direct negotiations and diplomacy — that is most responsible for the stand-off.

Not opening direct talks with the Iranians is a one way ticket to disaster. Actions taken on either side are open to interpretation and misunderstanding, and any escalation of the current situation could get out of hand extremely quickly. This is another issue on which the Republicans (and some Democrats) have boxed Obama in, limiting his ability to craft an intelligent policy towards the isolated country.

Obama no doubt understands that talking to adversaries is a far more effective way of reaching compromise and avoiding war, but the hawks within the US political spectrum insist that the threat of force is the only way to deal with Iran. The problem is, political calculations at home means following a far more dangerous course abroad - another catch 22 situation the President has yet to think his way out of.

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