I really haven't written much about the U.S./Iran "negotiations"
. The media swallowed the kool aid all the way down when it reported that the Bush administration was offering something new. In fact what has been offerred was that we'll talk to Iran if they stop doing what we're all supposed to be negotiating. In other words, if they meet the conditions for beginning negotiations, we don't need negotiations.
Sounds just like a Bush administration proposal.
What is a bit surprising is that China has ostensibly agreed to sanctions* if Iran doesn't comply. I suspect that Russia and China are playing a bit of a shell game. To placate Bush they'll go along with the demand for negotiations. But what they'll do when it actually comes down to implementing sanctions is highly questionable. China, particularly, is highly depenedent on Iran for oil and is seeking increased influence in the region. I suspect that they'll not implement any real sanctions. For Iran, as long as petro-dough continues to roll in, there are no real sanctions. Remember, the U.S. has had sanctions in place since the Carter years, and we can see what that's gotten us.
In short. Despite the media's interpretation, it doesn't look to me like anything has really changed in terms of stopping Iran. What may have changed is that the Bush administrations gains a measure of credibility is moving to the next phase of pressure .... military. If sanctions are "authorized" and "fail", there will be a diplomatic fig leaf of sorts for Bush to pursue military options. And for a politician (and a narcissist) as unpopular as Bush, this could mean some real trouble.
*Update: The word "sanctions" was never used in the press release.
Disclaimer: The above picture is not meant to in anyway to represent the President. It's a metaphorical picture of a fig leaf. I apologize to anyone who may have been scarred by the literal interpretation of a nude picture of Bush on this blog. He doesn't look that good.