Democrats & Liberals Archives

Talk to Iran

Last year, Bush said he was in favor of discussions with Iran but only on how to maintain peace in Iraq. Recently, Iran seemed to indicate that it may be inclined toward talks. Then, today I see this headline in the newspaper: “Some U.S. Officials Fear Iran is Helping Al Qaeda.” Could it be that the administration is repeating with Iran the same type of war campaign it pursued with Iraq? NO, NO, NO! It will not work, just as it did not work with Iraq. We must TALK, TALK, TALK to Iran.

Evidently, Aabdelaziz Hakim, of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution, and Jalal Talabani, interim president of Iraq, spoke to Iran about possible talks. Ali Larijani, the foreign policy chief of Iran said this:

"Iraq is our natural ally, and its security is of principal importance to us. Since this has been asked from us by Mr. Hakim, we have agreed to this request to help resolve the issues in Iraq, and to assist with the promotion of an independent and genuinely free Iraq."

There it is - a go-ahead for talks. Why do we quibble openly about what we will discuss? There's no point to it. Let's talk. I believe this could be the opening the U.S. has been waiting for, not only to discuss an independent Iraq, but also Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, and eventually, peace in the entire Middle East.

We talk incessantly with Saudi Arabia, the fountainhead of terrorism. As everybody knows, 14 of 19 terrorist that attacked us on 9/11 were Saudi Arabians. Osama bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian. The new terrorist honsho in Iraq, Zawahiri, is a Saudi Arabian. Saudi Arabia is a vicious dictatorship. It is packed with madrassas that preach hatred of Jews, Christians and the West. It funds madrassas in other Muslim countries and fills the world with anti-West propaganda. We have reason to believe they were behind the violent riots that erupted after European comic strips poked fun at Prophet Mohammad.

We talk to Egypt. We tell them to try democracy. So Mubarak has "elections" with the same results as always. And we compliment him for this.

The only ones we do not talk to are the Iranians. This is ridiculous. Iran is THE big power in the Middle East. Iran is Shia - not quite as death-crazy as the Sunnis that inhabit Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab world. Iran is the product of a long Persian civilization. Though it is not fully democratic, it is more democratic than any other nation in the Middle East except Israel. Ordinary Iranians like Americans - which is more than you can say for people in most other countries in the region.

U.S. has gotten into a stupid tit for tat relationship with Iran. If we want to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, it is time to talk. If we want peace in the Middle East, it's time to talk. If we want to get out of Iraq, it is time to talk. If we want an Israeli-Palestinian peace, it is time to talk.

You don't make friends and influence people by killing them, or by talking about killing them. You talk. You negotiate. You give and take. You work together toward common goals. And we do have common goals: Iranians want to live as much as we do.

For heaven's sake, let's talk to Iran.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 21, 2006 7:41 PM
Comments
Comment #135112

You don’t actually think there’s a danger of the U.S. launching a military campaign against Iran, do you?

That would
1) Be political suicide
2) Be military suicide
3) Be unbacked by any form of logic or reasoning

Crazier things have happened for sure, but such a course of action is just such a blatantly poor move for the U.S. that I can’t envision it happening.

Posted by: Zeek at March 21, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #135122

Aldous, that isn’t funny. Especially since I thought you were serious before I read who you were.

Posted by: Zeek at March 21, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #135124

“That would
1) Be political suicide
2) Be military suicide
3) Be unbacked by any form of logic or reasoning”

strange… just a few years ago, i would have said the same thing about a war on iraq. then i probably would have said something like…

“Crazier things have happened for sure, but such a course of action is just such a blatantly poor move for the U.S. that I can’t envision it happening.”

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 21, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #135128

That would probably be due to ignorance of Iraq as a political object. It had (and has) a weak military making an invasion easy and relatively cheap. Also, it had a dictator, Saddam, making it harder to criticize the war effort.

Iran may have a crazy running it, but it certainly doesn’t have anywhere near the human rights violations, plus it has a stronger demo/theocracy which is widely viewed as a legitimate government. Plus, Iran actually has an army, and a strong, well-run one at that.

Plus, Iran has allies (China and Russia) whereas Iraq had been isolated in the Middle East.

The two situations were not and are not comprable.

Posted by: Zeek at March 21, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #135147

Paul, I would be curious to know what career officers in the State Department think is possible in Iran. It is clear that, in the 1980s, we thought their theocracy would eventually go away. Iran was still probably considered a third rail in the Clinton years. Does the current administration still believe in their Axis of Evil rhetoric? Nimble prevaricator Condi Rice is theoretically in charge of foreign contacts. I do not see much hope.

Any additional conflict in this region should end up with some redrawing of the lines on the map. Many of their borders are pretty arbitrary anyway.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 21, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #135148

Aldous, have you gone insane?

There are plenty of other ways to put pressure on Iran that do not involve an invasion which is fool-hardy to the extreme for the reasons I have listed.

Posted by: Zeek at March 21, 2006 9:35 PM
Comment #135155

“That would probably be due to ignorance of Iraq as a political object. It had (and has) a weak military making an invasion easy and relatively cheap.”

right. and your statement would probably be due to an ignorance of reality. as a political objective, simple invasion of iraq is (was)pointless… which is why we are still there.
as far as the ease with which it is possible to achieve our political goals in iraq, the evidence does not support your erroneous insinuation - we have not achieved our goal(and our continuing failure has certainly not been easy, nor cheap), nor are we likely to achieve it.

it would be highly advantageous for iraq to become a democracy, yet this is not (and never was) our decision to make. you cannot force freedom on people. this doesn’t take a genius to figure out - and as this was the (initially unstated, clandestine) true goal of this administration from the get-go, it was obviously, as you previously stated, unsupported by (reasonable) logic.

the sad truth of the matter (as i have stated elsewhere) is that, had we not invaded iraq, we would be in a far better position to handle iran. knowing what we know of bush (utterly undiplomatic) - had he the resources to take us into iran, he would already have done so. more importantly, however, had we not invaded iraq, iran would not be in such a convenient position to defy us… errr… the international community - we could instead be concentrating on N. Korea.

you far overestimate the intellect of our tactless, inept leader. he is unconcerned with political suicide, and he has shown little regard for the lives wasted in iraq. his (and your own) defense of the war on iraq is untenable.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 21, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #135167

there is no military option. china and russia will not stand for a war on iran. they will not support sanctions against iran; they sure as hell will not suffer us doing to iran what we have done to iraq (even if it were within our means to do so, which it is not). we do not have the military standing to take on iran, china, and russia. we have few true allies left, and such an ill-conceived operation would find us with fewer still. throw in n. korea, who will indubitably take full advantage at the most opportune time, and it isn’t hard to understand why diplomacy is our best and only prayer. (oh yes, lest we forget, the american people will not support another such war).

bush is bluffing. iran has the upper hand. we will be forced to work with the rest of the world this time, and success is far from guaranteed.

…in my humble opinion.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 21, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #135172

Geeez…..I hope Bush doesn’t fall into this site…..he surely doesn’t need any encouragement to carve out another niche !!!! Zeek…I’m new to you, but you’re refreshing, and good. Looking forward to reading more of your posts….

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 21, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #135174

diogenes,

“as a political objective, simple invasion of iraq is (was)pointless… which is why we are still there.”

First off, that is completely non sequitur. Why would the lack of a political objective force us to remain in Iraq?

Second, the premise itself is faulty. There was a political point in invading Iraq which was to make the public feel like the war on terror was being waged and won.

“it would be highly advantageous for iraq to become a democracy, yet this is not (and never was) our decision to make.”

How so? They have a majority which would probably oppress the minority to the point where a civil war would break out. Signs of this are already evident…

“and as this was the (initially unstated, clandestine) true goal of this administration from the get-go”

Except that wasn’t the true intention in all likelihood. If it was, why haven’t we gone around liberating Cuba, N. Korea, many regions in Africa, etc.?

“you far overestimate the intellect of our tactless, inept leader.”

How so?

“he is unconcerned with political suicide, and he has shown little regard for the lives wasted in iraq”

Obviously this is not the case as Bush’s political image has taken a long time to deteriorate and it is not mainly because of the war in Iraq (latest polls show it’s job approval). Furthermore, it is again a weak argument to say he has shown little regard for the lives “wasted” in Iraq. There is no substantiation as Bush has never said anything amounting to that.

Additionally, the casualty rate would be FAR higher if we were to invade Iran which is, as I stated, a far more militarily capable country than Iraq.

Aldous,

“Is there any way to GUARANTEE to the Iranians that the US won’t invade it once Iraq is over?”

Does that matter? No one is bringing this up so why make the Iranians paranoid?

“In the old days, the UN is enough to guarantee that no invasion will take place.”

I realize this is unimportant to our debate, but when was that ever true?

“The only safety is the nuclear option. As proven by North Korea, the US dances a different tune if nukes are involved.”

The US happens to be ignoring a country which happens to have nuclear weapons. You have not shown a correlation between the two. It’s rather like how the number of pirates at see has greatly decreased over the past millenium but the average global temperature has increased. Using your logic, the decrease in pirates caused the increase in global temperature.

Saying diplomatic talks are no longer viable assumes that the US was going to invade Korea if it didn’t have nukes.

Posted by: Zeek at March 21, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #135176

“Diplomacy implies that you compromize. Iran wants a BOMB. What exactly do we negotiate for? A smaller bomb for Iran? Fewer bombs?”

yes. if necessary. or would you prefer wwiii to be sooner, rather than later? countries with nukes do not use them, for fear of retaliatory action (mutually assured destruction). they threaten to use them in order to further their goals, and to be treated as equals. this is not to suggest that iran deserves such treatment, but there is little we can currently do.

in all reality, iran is not openly claiming to seek nuclear weapons. perhaps compromise might include doing all that is in our power to accomodate their wishes, short of capitulating to their true aim of acquiring the means to produce wmd’s. the effort alone would reshape our image in the eyes of the international community, and the effort need not be ours alone. yes, i realize this is a horrible position to be in - but i did not vote for the war on iraq, and i do not condone our actions there.

“For heaven’s sake, let’s talk to Iran.”

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 21, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #135182

“First off, that is completely non sequitur. Why would the lack of a political objective force us to remain in Iraq?”

you suggested that our objective was to invade iraq, and that doing so would be easy. this was not our (end) objective, as i stated - and our objective was/is neither easy, nor cheap… as i stated. the rest of your question, i believe, is simple confusion of my post. if this was not what you were suggesting, then i fail to see the relevancy of your statement to the post to which it refers.

“Second, the premise itself is faulty. There was a political point in invading Iraq which was to make the public feel like the war on terror was being waged and won.”

spurious, at best. we achieved that goal with our successful invasion of afghanistan. if you are suggesting that we must continually make the public feel this way, then i would ask where you would have us attack next?

“How so? They have a majority which would probably oppress the minority to the point where a civil war would break out. Signs of this are already evident…”

see: reality. civil war has broken out (fact). civil war will continue (prediction). if civil war does not continue, it will not be our decision… as whatever form of gov’t they end up with *will not be our decision*.

“Except that wasn’t the true intention in all likelihood. If it was, why haven’t we gone around liberating Cuba, N. Korea, many regions in Africa, etc.?”

what exactly are you arguing? we have not attempted to ‘liberate’ other countries because it would not be advantageous for us to do so. bush doesn’t give two shits about the people of iraq.

” ‘you far overestimate the intellect of our tactless, inept leader.’
How so?”

apparently, in every way possible.

“Furthermore, it is again a weak argument to say he has shown little regard for the lives “wasted” in Iraq. There is no substantiation as Bush has never said anything amounting to that. ”

the truth is in his actions. torture, murder, sending america to war with a lie, subverting freedom in the name of freedom - our soldiers fight for freedom… bush fights only under the guise of freedom… this is a slap in the face of our military men. seriously, the list is endless. the problem; bush will not allow his legacy to be tarnished by the failure that has always followed his every action. the cause; he holds his pride in higher esteem than the entire free world. again, this is self-evident. i don’t expect him ever to admit as much.

“Additionally, the casualty rate….”

i do not condone pulling an ‘iraq’ on iran, nor is it currently possible.

are we done now with the point by point? how about picking one question/argument. it saves space.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 21, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #135188
Aldous, that isn’t funny. Especially since I thought you were serious before I read who you were.

Aldous is right. Iran can not be allowed to build a bomb.

I was hoping Iran would take the Russia/Chinese enrichment deal. I figured it was win-win because even if Iran refused, Russia and China would have to concede they did their best and supporting the US and EU is the only option left. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.

I’ve read a couple analyses that say for political reasons Russia and China can’t openly support the US and EU, but they won’t put up more than token resistance to sanctions and military action if necessary — just like in the Balkans.

I expect a set a non-UN set of sanctions by US/EU/Japan and other allies and eventually a NATO strike — if Israel doesn’t beat us to it.

Ahmadinejad is a wack job. The Iranian people are not in control of the country, he and the mullahs are. And they can not be allowed to have a bomb.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 21, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #135189

Talking to Iran is not enough. The aim must be to be friends with Iran. Iran is a beleaguered country surrounded by enemies. Unfortunately, U.S, who in my opinion is a natural Ally of Iran -as Israel is - has intensified the fear factor for those Iranians who truly love their country. U.S. befriends and is influenced by those countries that don’t accept Iran as a non-Wahabi or non-Arab entity. “Talking” or “telling” will not go anywhere. What is needed is a sincere attempt at “befriending” Iran, and when trust builds influencing it and be influenced by it. Simply “talking” to Iran is as hard an aim as is the attempt to “befriend” it. Both are daunting but let’s aim for the right choice- the latter. If secular Iranians, who are currently defeated and silent, feel that there is no danger of U.S. destroying their beloved country, they would feel persuaded to break their silence and more vigorously demand change. U.S. knows who the enemies of Iran are; all those potential little countries who are willing to be used as a base for the U.S. forces for an attack on Iran must necessarily be enemies of Iran. Adept U.S strategists know this point very well. Moreover, Iran, not even the current regime, will ever act as a base for any power be it Russia, U.S., or China to attack any of these foolhardy countries. Astute strategists also know the last point. The last point also makes evident the relative un-aggressive nature of the Iranian system. I am for peaceful change in Iran. U.S. must assure that they are in favor of a secure, whole and prosperous Iran despite the current hatred between the Iranian faction and the U.S. one. Let’s aim to befriend. This may be the only way.

Sincerely,
webefriends

Posted by: We Be Friends at March 22, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #135191

pundit,

i hope you are right that russia/china will provide only token resistance. it seems unlikely, though. what was the reasoning behind this conclusion? (or a link if you can recall the source)

…and, again, i don’t see a viable military option, nor the requisite will, given our current political atmosphere. perhaps i am missing something?

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 22, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #135203

diogenes, here’s the reasoning:

They know the US will not allow Iran to acquire nukes. While we adopt a shrill position, they can still conclude lucrative gas and oil deals with Iran.

They’d probably oppose anything that impacts those deals, but they won’t do more than squawk at precision strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites.

i don’t see a viable military option, nor the requisite will

I think you’re seeing it right now. Half the lefties posting here would support military action as a last resort. Iran can not be allowed to develop a nuke.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 22, 2006 1:10 AM
Comment #135211

“They’d probably oppose anything that impacts those deals, but they won’t do more than squawk at precision strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites.”

…and you don’t think that our military actions in iran would impact those deals? i agree with your assessment, insofar as china/russia’s main concern is for the aforementioned transactions with iran, and that they will remain relatively unconcerned so long as those transactions are preserved; however, i find it highly suspect that we could provide them such assurances. i thusly disbelieve that we would find them so apathetic as you presume. still, you’ve piqued my interest, and i will look into it. (again, a link would be appreciated, if possible).


“Half the lefties posting here would support military action as a last resort.”

somehow, i doubt that they will be eagerly enlisting to back up that conviction. furthermore, i do not expect that the watchblog community is incredibly representative of the country in its entirety. finally, perhaps i neglected to mention our current financial predicament (which brings a myriad of other concerns to the table).

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 22, 2006 1:52 AM
Comment #135212

Yes,Ahmadinejad is a” wack job.” Bush is also a” wack job.”Outside of the fact that Bush is easier to spell,what is the big difference between the two. Bush has access to nukes and A. does not as yet.
N.Korea and Iran were publicly put on Bushes hit list.Axis of evil. N.Korea got nukes and is now untouchable. Can one blame Iran for seeking the same security? The invasion of Iraq was relatively easy. The occupation a different story of course but the invasion was easy. It was easy because we have a very,very good military,much better than our leadership deserves in my opinion. They are extremely good at making war.Peace not so much but they are capable of bringing down nearly any state in the world and this was not lost on anyone especially those in the region.
Of course talk,talk,talk is better than war but the climate of fear generated by the current administration makes it unlikely there will be a peacful solution any time soon.
Just why is it that the US can have nukes and Iran can not? Is it because Iran might use them? This is comming from the only country that has used them. And why can France,Great Britain,Pakistan,India,Russia,probably Isreal,possibly Japan,China,N.Korea etc. have them and not Iran? You can not get the genie back in the bottle.
A more dangerious threat to the world than Iran armed with nukes is the development of first strike weapons and Bushes “preemptive” war policy. The whole M.A.D. concept that kept us safe during the cold war does not work if either side becomes convinced the other side is willing and able to launch a first strike. Now that is scary.

Posted by: BillS at March 22, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #135215

Paul,

IMO you make a very valid point. Every effort should be made to avoid armed conflict.

OTOH we can’t dismiss Iran’s blatant refusal to accept an Israeli state.

I still say we need to exhaust “all” reasonable diplomatic options before we resort to “bombs and bullets”.

I still remember Hans Blix virtually pleading for more time with the inspections, but, OH NO, Bush had to flex his freakin’ muscles. Need I remind anyone that another Baathist regime borders both Iraq and Israel?

I fear we may not be able to avert WWIII and IMO GW Bush will be every bit as responsible as Bin Laden.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 22, 2006 2:28 AM
Comment #135228

diogenes, that was in Monday’s edition (3/20) of my local paper, the Singapore Straits Times, by Johnathan Eyal. Sorry I can’t find a link. It’s a good analysis, though.

I don’t think a precision missile strike on Iran’s nuclear complex will affect Iran’s oil and gas production. And besides, the Russians will just get a contract to rebuild the nuclear complex. It’s like we’re giving their nuclear engineers guaranteed employment. :/

Posted by: American Pundit at March 22, 2006 8:55 AM
Comment #135247

Sigh. Just as with Kosovo and Iraq, we will be involved with another war that is not worthy of American blood being shed.
The only difference? It will then be the left who is standing behind “their” president and the right will be the ones disagreeing.

Posted by: kctim at March 22, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #135281


Bush has already taken over 2 countries, and implies that he wishes to establish dominance over the ‘Axis of Evil’. It seems a little naive (refreshingly so) to think that he wouldn’t invade Iran.

I don’t think you can liberate the women in the Middle East by military action. (Isn’t that what we’re really talking about? They are the most oppressed.) Yes, we eliminated slavery in this country by fighting, but since the invention of the nuke, that’s just too dangerous a way to solve everything.

Admit it, you’re as scared as me - we’re all saying to ourselves “but nobody will push the button… will they?”. Bush is saying to himself, “we won’t LET them push that button… we’ll take away their nukes” and his preemptive strikes may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we force our ideology down their throats, someone will, eventually, push that button. And expect to go to Heaven for it too.

Ultimately, the solution in the middle East belongs to their women. They will change it when they are ready. You cannot force oppressive men to agree with your ideals, and killing them just creates feuds and martyrs. All we can do is live by example, until the oppressed decide to speak up. ‘Living by example’ is exactly why we cannot continue to tolerate violations of the Constitution. I’d go out & protest that, but my county is already 72% liberal. lol.

Squeaky

Posted by: Squeaky at March 22, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #135311

squeaky, did you not witness the cruelty to women under the taliban and iraq and iran over here if you dont agree it is your right. over there you get killed or raped or beaten or put in prison. in a extremist state a women has about the same chance as a snowball does in hell. …JAY…..

Posted by: JAY at March 22, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #135314

thank you pundit. i’ll check it out.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 22, 2006 5:28 PM
Comment #135364

diogenes,

“we have not attempted to ‘liberate’ other countries because it would not be advantageous for us to do so. bush doesn’t give two shits about the people of iraq. “

This was what I was trying to get at, except I gave a longer explanation for it. Sorry for the confusion.

“you suggested that our objective was to invade iraq, and that doing so would be easy.”

I don’t see where you’re getting this from. I said it would be relatively easy but I never stated that the invasion was in itself an objective…

“we achieved that goal with our successful invasion of afghanistan. if you are suggesting that we must continually make the public feel this way”

I disagree. At the time, there wasn’t a clear war on terror. I’m not saying it was actually a good idea, so I’m not suggesting we should continually make the public feel that way. I am only saying that it is for political reasons that Iraq was invaded.

“apparently, in every way possible.”

That doesn’t support your accusation in any way. I was asking for a specific example of my overstimation of Bush; you failed to come up with one, leading me to believe you have no evidence.

Posted by: Zeek at March 22, 2006 9:12 PM
Comment #135367

Hi Jay,
I think the situation of women was very similar in this country, not too long ago, and Mid-Eastern women have the same chances that we had… fairly good if they are determined. Of course they will pay a price, but women are used to hard bargains. I think we should have more faith in them.
Squeaky

Posted by: Squeaky at March 22, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #135406

“That doesn’t support your accusation in any way. I was asking for a specific example of my overstimation of Bush; you failed to come up with one, leading me to believe you have no evidence.”

given your comments in this latest post, it would seem to me that we are largely in agreement. perhaps we are suffering some miscommunication… which would consequently negate said accusation - apologies.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 23, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #154861

There is something you in Iran had better know, you want an atomic bomb, you may soon get sevral, from Israel, from the US, and varoius other sources, your country is targeted every second of the day from the depths of the Persian Gulf, every city is targeted, every facility is targeted, if you don’t know this you have blind-folds, the idiot that holds the office of presiden is very dangerous to your lives, keep him if you want, but be prepared to suffer devastation the world has never seen, your country will no longer exist and will not be inhabitable for at least 1000 years, just knock off this crap of bravado, this idiot is nothing but crazy, he should be in an institution, or better yet a grave

Posted by: Jake Myerson at June 6, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #209108

“Yes,Ahmadinejad is a” wack job.” Bush is also a” wack job.”Outside of the fact that Bush is easier to spell,what is the big difference between the two.”

One has an MS in Civil Engineering and holds a PhD in Transportation Engineering

The other one holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Arts in…History…

I think that would be one of the big differences

Posted by: Stroking at February 20, 2007 8:40 PM
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