There are times when I get confused by international relations. Our shrub has a unique talent for uniting diverse groups, albeit that he unites them against him:
The diplomatic chess game around Iran's nuclear program includes an unlikely bishop. According to several well-placed Rome sources, Iranian officials are quietly laying the groundwork necessary to turn to Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican diplomats for mediation if the showdown with the United States should escalate toward a military intervention. The 80-year-old Pope has thus far steered clear of any strong public comments about either Iran's failure to fully comply with U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors or the drumbeat of war coming from some corners in Washington. But Iran, which has had diplomatic relations with the Holy See for 53 years, may be trying to line up Benedict as an ace in the hole for staving off a potential attack in the coming months. "The Vatican seems to be part of their strategy," a senior Western diplomat in Rome said of the Iranian leadership. "They'll have an idea of when the 11th hour is coming. And they know an intervention of the Vatican is the most open and amenable route to Western public opinion. It could buy them time."
With the timing of the Annapolis conference on low expectations (hey, we'll talk about peace and then do absolutely nothing to promote peace), and the ongoing rhetoric blaming Iran for our disaster in Iraq, strange bedfellows are increasing. Most of the world is trying to prevent the Cheney from attacking Iran, and they just might prevail.