It has become a familiar and well-worn pattern by now. First, Republicans talk up the fear-factor well beyond the actual facts at hand.
Despite President Bush's claims that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons that could trigger "World War III," experts in and out of government say there's no conclusive evidence that Tehran has an active nuclear-weapons programThen they demand, as a starting point for negotiations, a set of conditions that only their base could possibly think was reasonable - the equivalent of demanding their opponent fold before betting begins. In the case of Iran's nuclear energy program, this involves insisting that the program be halted before face-to-face talks can begin about the future of the program.
At the same time, they try to piss off possible allies and drive them into the opposition camp - a hedge against their ridiculous negotiating stance accidentally being taken seriously. Thus, they've pissed of Russia with missile shield plans, forsaken oil promises and other underhand tricks until Putin has decided that the enemy of his self-evident enemy should maybe be his friend.
On a holiday created to unite his country, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a veiled warning that foreigners were seeking to split up the vast country and plunder its resource wealth.Then, having ensured that no negotiations or compromise are even remotely possible, they reach for the "nuclear option" and blame everyone else - but always and particularly Democrats - for the failure of the negotiating process.
"Some people are constantly insisting on the necessity to divide up our country and are trying to spread this theory," Putin told military cadets during a speech in Moscow on Sunday, Russian news agencies reported.
"There are those who would like to build a unipolar world, who would themselves like to rule all of humanity," Putin said, a phrase he has used over the past seven years of his administration to mean the United States.
..."Some minor countries, under pressure from larger ones, are having a hard time figuring out how to defend their own interests. And Russia has played and will continue to play a positive, stabilizing role in the world," he said.
Democrats have objected to the Bush administration's pursuit of sanctions against Iran as a precursor to war. They have ignored the Iranian intransigence on nuclearization and treated the White House as the source of the problem. In doing so, they have given signals to Russia and China to continue their obstructionism on sanctions at the UN Security Council. Jim Hoagland explains why Russia, China, and the Democrats are pushing the Bush administration to the war option as the sole remaining recourseBy now this pattern has repeated itself over issues as divergent as Social Security, torture, warrantless spying, Iran, healthcare, filibusters and even Congressional subpoenas of former White House officials.
It's as obvious a con as any shell-game ever was - and the only folks who seem to be consistently fooled by it are Congressional Democrats.