In the case of the war in Iraq, Iran is China, and the first component of a strategy to win in Iraq is to establish a rapprochement with Iran. That is, a general settlement of differences. The Iranians have offered us such a settlement—including a compromise on the nuclear issue—on generous terms. But the Bush administration, true to its hubris, refused to consider it, going so far as to upbraid the Swiss for daring to forward the overture to us. It seems, however, to remain on the table.

The reason a strategy to win in Iraq must begin with a rapprochement with Iran is that any real Iraqi state is likely to be allied to Iran. Even the quisling al-Maliki government cowering in the Green Zone is close to Iran. A legitimate Iraqi government, which is virtually certain to be dominated by Iraq’s Shi’ites, will probably be much closer.

A restored Iraqi state that is allied with Iran will quickly roll up al-Qaeda and other non-state forces in Iraq, which is the victory we most require. But the world’s perception will still be that the United States was defeated because its main regional rival, Iran, will emerge much strengthened. If Iran and America are no longer enemies, that issue becomes moot. ~William Lind, The American Conservative

This is an excellent proposal.  I have been convinced for some time that rapprochement with Iran is the logical move and one of the most important things that Washington can do to contain the damage done by the war.  It may be possible to turn what is presently a disaster into a more balanced and respectable outcome.  Were he to pursue this course (and Mr. Lind is absolutely right that he will never do so), Mr. Bush might even score a late success in his otherwise rather bad foreign policy record.  In any case, this is the wise course that a future administration ought to take.  It remains to be seen whether the Washington establishment would rather suffer massive humiliation or engage a state with which we have no necessary and inevitable conflicts.