GAMESMANSHIP….A week ago, in a reversal of its longtime policy, the Bush administration agreed to hold face-to-face talks with Iran. This decision didn’t go over well with conservatives, who believe that negotiation is a sign of weakness, and likely didn’t go over well with hardliners within the administration for the same reason.

What to do? Answer: Prove that you’re still as tough as you ever were. Perhaps this is why we’ve seen the following in the past few days:

These actions are probably designed both to put the Iranians on notice and to quell conservative disquiet at home. For their part, the Iranians may be engaged in the same kind of gamesmanship, and with the same two audiences in mind. Perhaps that explains their rash of recent jailings of Iranian-Americans?

Something to think about. I promise not to make it into a hobby horse. But it might explain some otherwise mysterious actions.