The Obama administration has accepted an invitation to attend a Russian sponsored meeting concerning the situation in Afghanistan. This represents a sharp contrast with the Bush administration whose policies only served to antagonize the Russians. A senior American delegate will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization even though the United States is not a member of this group. Defense Department spokesperson Robert Wood noted, “we think it is important to go to this conference (because) it is about Afghanistan” and how nations of the world can cooperate in dealing with the situation.
Iran will be an observer at the meeting which represents an opportunity for the United States to interact with Iranian officials in a meeting where there will be many nations represented. It is through such opportunities that America can establish new relations with Iran.