The Campaign Spot

Gates Calls Prospect of Breakthrough With Iran ‘Very Remote’

When the secretary of defense announces that the centerpiece of the president’s foreign policy probably isn’t going to work, that’s pretty big news, no?

The Washington Post, on page A7:

In Egypt, Gates played down the likelihood of a major breakthrough, or “grand bargain,” that would lead to dramatic changes in the U.S.-Iranian relationship, such as the re-establishment of diplomatic ties.
“I believe that kind of prospect is very remote,” he told reporters in Cairo on Tuesday after meeting with President Hosni Mubarak. “We’ll just have to see how the Iranians respond to the offer from the president. Frankly, some of the first things that have happened as a result of the extension of that open hand have not been encouraging.” . . .
“To tell you the truth, I have been around long enough to see these efforts attempted before with no result,” he said. “The question is whether circumstances in Iran have changed in such a way that with the administration offering an opportunity for contact that the Iranians are willing to take advantage of that opportunity.”

You know, Mr. Secretary, that’s how a lot of us felt about the president’s position back in the fall, too.