MANUFACTURING A WAR….Steve Clemons attended a dinner Sunday night and spoke with a “former foreign minister of a major nation” who is apparently privy to conversations with Iran’s Supreme Religious Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Here is Steve’s mysterious conclusion:

What I learned from this foreign minister last night and a room full of extremely smart people is that there are forces escalating America’s and Iran’s tensions ? and a single serious miscalculation could dramatically alter America’s position in the world ? and yet miscalculations are already abounding.

Details, please! Steve doesn’t elaborate further, and Matt Yglesias suggests that this kind of thinking is naive anyway. This is no miscalculation, he says:

It’s part of a considered, and wrongheaded, view of America’s foreign policy which holds that reaching diplomatic agreements with “evil” regimes is always a bad thing. The preferred method is the use of force and intimidation. The problem is that neither the American people nor the international community is prepared to endorse fighting wars for no reason at all. Thus, when the Iranians approach us with peace feelers, the offers must be rejected out of hand. Iranian intransigence at the IAEA isn’t a problem, but an opportunity for war.

That does seem to be the case, doesn’t it? As near as I can tell, the Bush administration is doing everything it can to look like it’s endorsing diplomacy while simultaneously ensuring that nothing with an actual chance of working is ever put on the table. A similar faction in Iran seems to be doing precisely the same thing.

And the rest of us? Stuck in the middle as usual.