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Rand and Hillary, Profiles in Discretion

Steve Walt wonders when Hillary is going to let us in on her opinion on Iran diplomacy:

Amazing, isn’t it? The former chief diplomat of the United States is supposedly an expert on foreign policy and may still harbor a desire to be leader of the free world. Yet she’s been completely silent on the whole question of the negotiations with Iran, even though I’ll bet the Obama administration would love to get her to endorse its efforts. Does she support it? Damned if I know. Does she think it’s naïve, foolish, or not bold enough? Your guess is as good as mine. No doubt we will find out HRC’s true convictions just as soon as her focus groups report in or her major donors tell her what to think. –

Another leading prospective candidate whom we’ve yet to hear from is Rand Paul. I’m slightly more sympathetic to Paul than Clinton, in part because he’s already gotten slammed by the neocons on Iran without having really said anything. For him to endorse the administration’s efforts at Iran diplomacy, when the grassroots of his party would learn to hate ice cream if Obama were associated with it, might qualify him for a chapter in the next edition of Profiles in Courage. I don’t really expect it, but if it happened it would be pretty impressive.

On second thought, doesn’t that set the bar kind of low? Is it too much to expect that a leading Republican senator would remind people of Reagan and his “trust but verify,” and that Richard Nixon started talking to China, while noting that we actually have serious national interests in ramping down the blind hostility with Teheran? You know, actually lead, instead of arguing that he is well qualified to do so.

Let’s have a contest: which would-be leader of the Free World will be the first to tell us what they actually think about Iran diplomacy, including of course the deal inked in Geneva in late November? Who will be the first to break silence, Rand or Hillary?

(For those wondering, I am well aware that even this preliminary Geneva deal is running into difficulties with a new Iranian insistence on modernizing centrifuges, as well as the Iranian Parliament proposing legislation that would bar Rouhani from negotiating. This group should caucus with Schumer, Menendez, and Kirk. None of this will be easy.)

about the author

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottMcConnell9.

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