Not to intrude on Crowley's turf, but having just read his very smart piece on Dennis Ross--which makes the point that, even though Ross's primary duty is focusing on Iran, he'll have to compete with Hillary Clinton's other star diplomatic fixers, Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, on setting the administration's policy toward the country--the difficulty of Ross's job was driven home for me by the news that Hillary is pushing to include her Iranian counterpart in a high-level meeting on Afghanistan. According to Crowley's piece, Ross favors talking with Iran about its nukes program, but only through a back channel. On the one hand, maybe the Afghan talks could serve as that back channel; on the other hand, that's a mighty public back channel. Which makes you wonder if the push to include Iran in those talks--which presumably is coming from Holbrooke--could be working at cross-purposes to Ross's own goals.

--Jason Zengerle