Thursday, October 23

Memo To Bush, Cheney And Powell

This is how it's done:

The Muscle of Diplomacy

Europe's "big three" split on war with Iraq but recognize that the threat of nuclear proliferation requires unity and deft diplomacy. Both were on display this week when the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany won Iran's agreement to allow more international inspections of its nuclear facilities and to suspend enrichment of uranium, a step needed for nuclear weapon production.

Britain backed the United States on war in Iraq and sent troops; France and Germany opposed the invasion. But they put those differences aside to persuade Tehran to exchange its nuclear weapons ambitions for good relations with Europe and potential technical assistance on nuclear power.

Washington has seen what the nations of scorned "old Europe" can do to advance interests they share with the U.S. The unified offering of potential rewards and punishments may not be enough to keep Iran from joining the nuclear weapons club. But if Iran is dissuaded, it will demonstrate that a willingness to flex diplomatic muscle can be as persuasive as the threat of military power.