I have to say, I'm instantly skeptical of any story (or "News Analysis") containing the phrase "Bush's Realization," but David Sanger's NYT piece about Bush giving in to pressure to negotiate with Iran is certainly thought-provoking.
And the thought that it principally provokes in me is this: Given the choice between a statesmanlike diplomatic coup (and I'm using "coup" in the figurative sense, just so we're clear) and a prolonged, ugly, costly, unsuccessful war that cements our global reputation as a rogue bully and a sworn enemy of Islam, which one will Bush pick?
Hey, remember when we had troops massed in Saddam's backyard, and he let inspectors in, and they didn't find anything? How did that turn out?
Look, I'm not saying negotiations with Iran would be a slam-dunk, although I believe they are genuinely willing to deal. I just believe that Bush cares only about his legacy as the Strong Fighter War President, and couldn't give two shits about this nancy-boy diplomacy stuff. And the last time he was in a similar situaton, he chose war to make himself and the Republican party look tough and serious about "fighting terror."
This time around, the case for war isn't as strong, the outcome would be more clearly disastrous (no visions of flowers and sugarplums this time), we have no troops available, and Bush is winding down his last term, which is when presidents traditionally think about burnishing their statesman credentials. For a rational president, any one of those factors would be enough to dissuade them from an unnecessary war, but Bush is not a rational president. War is the basis of his entire self-image, the only thing that makes him feel powerful and in charge. I also think he wants to recapture that heady new-war smell, when everyone thought he was Manly King Stud. I personally think it would backfire, but I don't think he cares.
Anyway, to sum up, our president is a bloodthirsty madman who needs war to get an erection. And just like an addict, he needs a bigger and bigger fix to get a buzz. Is there a 12-step program for this, I wonder. "Hello. My name is George, and I am a warmonger."