Watchful Waiting, Ctd

Larison disagrees with Parsi:

Delaying talks is not going to determine “which Iran America and the region will be dealing with for the next few decades.” It will ensure that the diplomatic track stalls, the idea of engagement becomes a joke in Washington, and it will strengthen the hand of hawks who favor harsh sanctions and eventually want to see military action against Iran...Someone might object at this point that Parsi has even more credibility to call for a “tactical pause” because he has been such an outspoken advocate of pursuing a diplomatic course, but I think Parsi was right in 2007 that deliberate and persistent pursuit of diplomacy is the only way to ensure its success. A “tactical pause” makes sure that this pursuit is not persistent and may never be resumed once it is halted. Parsi’s objective remains the same, which is laudable, but it seems to me that he has erred in forgetting his own advice on how diplomacy with Iran can succeed.

It's a prudential decision, and it's very hard to make a judgment on it from this far away. I tend to agree with Parsi that now is a good time to wait and see if Khamenei needs to reach out to the US, or whether the Iranian polity is just too unstable to talk to. But at some point, countries have interests; and Iran and America have enough to discuss re: Iraq, Pakistan, and Palestine to move forward. I leave the timing to those in charge of these things. All sorts of communications - formal, informal - are unknown to us. And we seem to have subtler practitioners of the art of diplomacy than we did only recently.