Return to Sender

The New York Times has finally started a conversation on Obama’s secret letter, on its Opinionator blog. It’s pretty amazing how diversified the reactions are. The Huffington Post sees it as an example of improved diplomacy; some liberal bloggers are convinced it was designed to expose a growing rift between Putin and Medvedev; conservatives call it a “debacle”; and the scholarly take is, well, it doesn’t matter the letter’s intention, since Russia lacks the incentive to pressure Iran to stop developing nukes.

GlobalSecurity’s John Pike stands out from the fray:

“Russia has neither the ability nor the interest to pressurize Iran into giving up its nuclear weapons program. It is one way the Americans can ‘engage’ the Russians, so as to not appear to be a Bush rootin’ tootin’ cowboy. But it is no more than a means to give diplomats something to talk about. It is a way of putting the ball back into their court, so few months down the road we can say that we gave them the chance, [and] it is not our fault that we are forced to deploy BMD [ballisitc missile defense] components in central Europe.”