One of the things that bugged me about TFG’s interactions with other countries – I can’t call it foreign policy because there was no policy – was there was no subtlety, no pattern, nothing intellectual. There was nothing to analyze beyond “This is bad, we shouldn’t do it.”
Some tried, of course. Large numbers of reporters tried to pretend there was something strategic in Jared’s schmoozing with his bloody Saudi friend. If there was, it had to do with money for himself and his father in law.
But Joe Biden! And Antony Blinken! And Wendy Sherman! Ah, there are people who think several moves ahead. I’ve been enjoying a transcript of a briefing by a Senior Administration Official. To those of us who follow such things, it’s obviously Rob Malley, special representative to the talks with Iran.
And message discipline! Oh my, not just with regard to foreign policy, but all across the government. But the briefing transcript has it, in spades. The administration is saying nothing about the specifics of the talks. They are taking a firm line as to what the US wants out of the talks, but they are not being so specific as to trap themselves as the talks progress.
Some things are quite specific, though. Where the administration has been taciturn about the progress of the talks (We are making some progress, but we are far from a complete agreement), the Iranians have tried to project optimism and sometimes more. There was a leak about a possible prisoner exchange. Malley swats that one down, hard.
It’s a lovely study of a person who knows what he’s doing and is doing it well. I am grateful.