Iran rejects nuke talks with U.S.

Not with Europe, mind you. Just with us.

Shrewd move. Rejecting the offer in toto would push the Europeans towards our position on regime change, but objecting on the narrow grounds of U.S. participation forces them away. And of course it exploits anti-American sentiment in Europe and the Middle East especially, where Ahmadinejad is riding a wave of popularity for his belligerence towards the U.S. and Israel.

It could also be a ploy to extract more concessions from the U.S., but what’s left to concede? Uranium enrichment is the sticking point and there’s no way we’ll agree to that.

Is there?

Anyway, the left is constantly telling us to “engage” with rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea, as though their belligerence were the geopolitical equivalent of a child throwing a tantrum to get attention. They accuse us of seeing Hitler in every tinpot dictatorship, but often it seems like all the see is a particularly knotty case study from Dr. Spock. Buy ’em an ice cream and give them some daddy time, the theory goes, and they’ll behave better. We did that here. Now what? Buy them a balloon by giving up our no-enrichment policy?

Khamenei’s already served notice that Iran won’t give up enrichment, so Europe can go one of two ways now: indulge the spoiled child by allowing the U.S. to drop out or show some “tough love” by making U.S. involvement a condition of its own participation. It’s too soon to tell which it’ll be — but I know how I’m betting.

Update: Iran’s minister of science says Islam forbids the construction of WMD. See the update in my “served notice” link to learn what another Iranian minister thinks about that.

Update: On second thought, just how popular is Ahmadinejad?