Iran: To Engage or Not To Engage... That is Not the Question

Posted by Sean McCormack
October 10, 2007
Iranian Nuclear Program

One way the mainstream media breaks down coverage of Iran policy is to place people (both inside and outside government) into two neat categories – those who want to engage Iran and those who want to isolate Iran. Admittedly, there are other ways to create camps on the Iran issue – use of force vs. diplomacy, for example – but the engage vs. isolation dichotomy is the one I most often read about those at State purportedly chomping at the bit to negotiate with an Iranian, any Iranian. Let me offer another way to look at the issue.

I’ll start with a simple premise: diplomacy without incentives and disincentives (carrots and sticks) is just talking. Put another way, diplomacy without the proper mix will accomplish nothing when dealing with an adversary. The question then becomes one of establishing both sides of the equation – incentives and disincentives -- before any negotiation. So those who want to divide the world into engage vs. isolate camps are missing the point. In fact, it is not a binary choice. Instead engagement and isolation are two different sides of the same coin.

Experience tells us that without creating significant leverage, you will fail in a negotiation – unless of course you face a weak or unthinking opponent. So, unless the U.S. creates the right conditions for successful negotiations with Iran, we won’t get anyplace. For example, part of creating the right conditions is to make clear to friends and the Iranian government that the U.S. has interests in the Gulf it does not plan to abandon. Carriers in the Gulf and building strong military relationships with allies in the region are one way to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take those interests, and our readiness to assist our friends against any threats. Arms sales are just one element to building those strong relationships; we are now working with Congress to gain approval for sales to bolster our allies. Going after Iranian-backed networks targeting our troops with sophisticated improvised explosives is yet another way in which we show our determination to defend broader interests, as well as protect our troops.

On the diplomatic side, Secretary Rice met September 28 in New York during the UN General Assembly with Foreign Ministers from China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom—the so-called P5+1 (easier than writing out the names of each country when talking about this group). They repeated the 2006 commitment to a dual track diplomatic approach to Iran. Basically, this translates to increasing pressure (vias sanctions and other diplomatic means) on Iran to come clean with the world and meet its UN and other obligations, while at the same time offering Iran direct talks on the nuclear issue if it suspends its nuclear enrichment activities. The offer to Iran also includes the prospect of assistance with the development of a peaceful, civil nuclear program if it agrees to comply with its international obligations and come clean with the international community regarding its nuclear past and generous economic incentives for Iran, including support for Iran’s ascension to the World Trade Organization. The P5+1 proposal remains on the table. It is also worth noting that we have made it clear that the Iranians can also bring up whatever other topics they wish in these talks. We will certainly be prepared to bring up other issues of concern to us. The group’s only condition for starting talks is that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment work; for our part, we will suspend UN Security Council sanctions for the lifespan of the negotiations. We have even been flexible in considering the duration of negotiations/suspension.

Until that point, we will continue working with the Treasury Department and key international financial institutions to ensure that Iran does not abuse the international financial system to fund its proliferation and terrorism activities. We are joined in efforts to pressure Iran outside of the UN framework by allies such as France, which recently announced its support for imposing broader EU sanctions on the Iran.

I hope that gives you an idea of how we are working to establish both sides of the equation – incentives and disincentives. In our view diplomacy still has a lot of legs left, but in order for it to succeed we need to keep working both sides of the isolation/engagement coin.

Comments

Comments

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 14, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
What makes you Americans think that you can order the world around?

If and when you attack Iran, I hope that the Russians and the Chinese launch a preemptive strike on the U.S. This will carry a message to the American people, that to every move, there is a counter move. If one plays chess, one learns that.

For the last five years, I have been urging the Chinese and Russian Governments to re-arm, and be ready to attack the U.S. itself. No country since World War II, has been more involved in the overthrow of foreign governments than the U.S. Thus, steps must be taken to bring it under control by whatever means is necessary.

The world of today, does not need a rogue cop, like the U.S. to deal with its problems. Sometimes it becomes very necessary to imprison the rogue cop. Right now, I do not see any way out, without a direct attack on the U.S. itself. Enough is enough. Let us have an end to the madness that the U.S. has exported to a peaceful world.

Yaser
|
Saudi Arabia
October 11, 2007

Yaser in Saudi Arabia writes:
What is the point of your demand that Iran suspends its nuclear enrichment activities? Is it temporary suspension? Or you do not want Iran to ever has the nuclear technology knowledge. I think it is possible to check if Iran program is peaceful or not but your main concern is that you do not want Iran to have the knowledge.

RONNIE
|
North Carolina, USA
October 10, 2007

Ronnie in North Carolina writes:
My question is this, was Iran's "weapons of uranium enrichment" discovered before or after the attack on Iraq?

Because, if it was after the attack on Iraq,then this is just another deceptive ploy by the Bush administration to sacrifice more of this countries courageous young men and women in uniform, unnecessarily,for the sake of oil! (Oh, by the way, I'm veteran)

If it was discovered before the invasion into Iraq,then this is without a doubt,"all about oil"...

Let's think this situation through before the U.S. attack.

Baron B.
October 11, 2007

Baron writes:
How does one "engage" a theocratic dictatorship? The idea is manifestly absurd.

It is official Iranian state policy that the state of Israel must be destroyed. How does one engage that? What compromise will we offer? To allow them to destroy *part* of Israel??

The president of Iran has declared his mission to be the fulfillment of Shi'ite prophecies, that is, to bring war and destruction upon the world in order to usher in the reign of the Twelfth Imam. Do you think he is being coy? Is this mere rhetoric on his part?

Ahmedinejad has issued "the Call" to the United States. Our failure to heed it and convert to Islam requires our destruction.

He is as clear in his intentions as was Hitler in "Mein Kampf". Not to take him at face value is the height of foolishness.

If we are too weak to confront Iran, then it must be contained, not "engaged". Prudence and common sense demand nothing less.

Ralph
|
Greece
October 11, 2007

Ralph in Greece writes:
I have been waiting for the U.S.A. to settle the score with Iran since the day our U.S. mission staff were taken hostage many years ago. Although I realize that this is not the reason we are pressuring Iran, it still gives me great pleasure to see the Iranians squirming under the international pressure.

To the gentleman in Canada (Kenneth): Your narrative reads more like the work of Tom Clancy. In my opinion, I think this blog tries to stay in the realm of non-fiction.

Kashif
|
United States
October 11, 2007

Kashif in America writes:
Hello Mr. McCormick i hope you read my comments and the comments of others such as Kenneth in Canada. For too long the U.S. has used various slogans such as freedom, democracy, axis of evil, and so forth to push ahead with it's agendas. The only reason countries follow the american's around is because they want to have good trade relations with it and will say anything to please it. America is not all evil lot's of countries rely on america for trade because they are undeveloped like China for example. To use that desperation of countries who are seeking development through good trade relations to advance an agenda that serves the protection of countries that have violated numerous human rights is deplorable at best. If countries you are allied with such as Turkey had true democracy then they would be allowed to wear scarfs and become islamic however that is not the case and the iron hand which the rest of the world is familiar with in their own respective governments shows it's ugly face through their militaries and other nefarious means. When Ahmedinejad was allowed to speak at columbia i was astounded that americans had the courage to hear another point of view but by the actions of the hooligans at columbia it became clear that certain sloganering from the americans was going to obscure the debate. I hope America will give up it's pretentious claims to be being the saviour of a bankrupt ideology of capitalism and democracy. Let China become economically strong don't restrict trade with them if you don't like what you hear from them and let them get strong enough to beat your country up, PLease!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just because you are strong today and have an economic adavantage over other countries that doesn't mean that will protect you on the day of judgement when God will send all jerks to hell, inshallah.

section9
|
Florida, USA
October 11, 2007

S in Florida writes:
Gee, Kenneth in Canda, it sounds like the latest "worthwhile Canadian initiative" is a desire for global thermonuclear war.

Trust me; neither the Chinese nor the Russians are as stupid as you desire them to be. They'd much rather us get bogged down in some quagmire in Iran. When one plays chess long enough, one sees that.

Condi and her friends are trying to avoid two things: one-a nuclear armed Iran and two, a return to American isolationism. You'd want to avoid that too, if you actually thought that through.

A nuclear armed Iran leads to a couple of things; a possible accidental nuclear conflict between her and Israel and an almost certain nuclear arms race in the Middle East as the Sunni states, such as Egypt, ramp up their programs with Saudi financing. Turkey won't stand idle, either. Now you can either scream "Bush Lied, They Died!", or you can try and do something about it with the proper mix of carrots and Dick Cheney. And that's what Condi and her subordinates are trying to do.

Whether it has any noticable effect on the kind of people who make up the Revolutionary Guards Corps is another question.

The other issue is a return to Isolationism. This is far more likely than some of our friends at State would like to admit. The American electorate doesn't see itself or it's efforts as wicked, bad, evil, especially in a world that produces the likes of Hitler, Pol Pot, and Kim Jong Il. That might be a staple of Canadian politics, but that dog don't hunt down here. However, believe me, out in the country, people tire of getting blamed for everything by our so called "friends". People don't like shoveling out 15 to 30 billion dollars for AIDs research in Africa and then getting the big Eff You from the rest of the world in response. People at Foggy Bottom are totally at sea about this, but when someone like Ron Paul is pulling in the big bucks with his America First platform, it's time for foreigners to take notice.

Casual anti-Americanism is fine when it's cost free. It's when the notion of "American Imperialism", popularized by people wearing Che merchandise who should know better, begins to have an effect on normal people's impression of America that things begin to corrode. Where a lot of our so-called "friends" just don't like us. Then we may arrive at a point at which the American people decide to pack things in and go home. The last time that happened was the 1930's.

We see how well that worked out, don't we?

Brady
|
Greece
October 11, 2007

Brady in Greece writes:
A remarkably insular blog posting. Has the author ever been outside the U.S.?

Given that the U.S. also derives benefit (e.g., increased safety for U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, stability in energy prices, potential limits on Iranian support to anti-Israel groups) from engagement with Iran, the inducement for Iran's "good behavior" must be proportional to that potential benefit, not simply the privilege of negotiating with the State Department to make a sacrifice Iran has no obligation (under international law, at least) to make.

There is no international prohibition on enriching uranium, simply a set of safeguards. Iran has told the IAEA it will apply them, though Iranians are internally divided on the issue. The realistic goal, because America has neither the cash nor the troops nor the legitimacy to impose a new regime on Iran, is full Iranian compliance with those safeguards. That can be negotiated pretty cheaply, once it is acceptable U.S. domestic politics to do so.

Foppe D.
|
Netherlands
October 11, 2007

Foppe in The Netherlands writes:
We Dutch know quite well that our government yielded to USA pressure, threats by former ambassador Bremer, to send troops to Afghanistan to help NATO with the destruction of that country.

We have seen how the U.S.A. has destroyed Iraq, and still continues doing this.

It is strange that the U.S.A. government still does not realise that most people in the world see it as the evil power in the world, and that the U.S.A. wants to destroy Iran for the same reasons it destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.

James
|
Virginia, USA
October 11, 2007

James in Virginia:
I would hope that the U.S. can focus enough energy on the Iran problem early enough to solve it. I think some credibility is lost, and that makes solving this peacefully very difficult. Iran, like Iraq, is probably bluffing in a feeble attempt to hold their status. This may result in the U.S. calling their bluff, hopefully not alone, and attempting to drag yet another country out of the middle ages. Thank you for the site, and for the humor these comments so often provide!

Dave
|
Florida, USA
October 11, 2007

Dave in Florida writes"
Basically: Speak softly but carry a big stick. Generally seems to work..

Jeff
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 11, 2007

Jeff in Washington, DC writes:
Your thesis seems to be that you need leverage in order to prevent failure in negotiation. Many would argue, and the UN was partly created because, almost all wars are started on the basis of some kind of misunderstanding on one or both sides and the primary to prevent misunderstanding is to talk to each other. Communication is not just a tool - its a victory unto itself because it increases information and prevents misunderstanding by all sides.

Richard
|
Massachusetts, USA
October 11, 2007

Richard in Massachusetts writes:
This has been a very useful start in agency transparency (btw, isn't blogging a gas?). Two short points on a subject fraught with potential global mishap -- as in so many matters these days, China is central. Some direct, no nonsense signal from Beijing that Iran has to follow a rational collegial path will carry profound weight, given China's looming political and commercial strength. Also, let's get non-governmental communicators into Teheran's cultural bloodstream -- a week-long speaking tour by someone like Garry Wills on religion and freedom could yield an impressive frisson.

Mike
|
Kansas, USA
October 11, 2007

Mike from Kansas writes:
Negotiate with Iran? LOL, "I've got a Bridge for Sale!" Let's see, How long have we been "Neogtiating" with the Mullahs?? Didn't Jimmuh Catah start this process?

Unbelievable, Just more of the Same from State! "Neva, Neva Land!"

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 11, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
@ Ralph in Greece -- Realm of non-fiction and Tom Clancy's work? Have you never heard it said that reality imitates fiction? Then, of course you are an American, which actually means that you do not read anything written by non-American authors, do you? That, of course speaks volumes. Besides, any publication that is not censored by the Bush regime, cannot be sold in book stores.

That strikes one of the book-burning period in Nazi Germany. Is the U.S. any different to Nazi Germany today? You will not be able to answer that question on the grounds that it would incriminate you. Too bad

Robert
|
Ohio, USA
October 11, 2007

Robert in Ohio writes:
I can't believe I'm actually about to quote Monty Python, but it applies:

"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

Stop demonizing Americans.

Let's look at this another way. Consider all countries to be people. Relative to other countries that have been around for ages America is still a child. Children also sometimes do not recognize their own strength and damage things without malicious intent. Now continuing with this line of thought, the countries that have been around for so long would be adults. Adults have more experience than children. But how did they gain it? By going through the same process of development as everyone else. Now, it is frustrating to watch a child do something that the adult knows to be wrong to any extent. But which will teach the child more, setting a good example and sharing wisdom gained with age or just scolding the child?

Not only does calling Americans evil and wishing harm upon us sound immature, but it makes you sound rash and unreasonable. You have the right to be frustrated. Many Americans are as well. But I urge you to be thoughtful in how you vent that frustration. Instead of providing useful insight you just put people on the defensive. Once people are on the defensive because of an affront to their homeland they will not be receptive to suggestions for improvement. This is basic human nature. I can only imagine that in chess it would also help to be able to understand how your opponent thinks . ;)

Attack the policies, not the people. Speaking in generalities about a people is irresponsible at best and can lead to disastrous consequences.

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 11, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard are no different to the U.S. National Guard, to call them terrorists is some kind of joke. But, what is more galling, is to refer to the Iraqi Patriots fighting for their homeland against a foreign occupier, as insurgents, you've got to be kidding. If that is the case then George Washington and his band pof insurgents are also terrorists in the same vein.

Please, don't come out with that patriotic garbage that they were fighting for independence, because they were not. Their sole aim was to gain power. That is no different to the Bush regime in the U.S. today. Sorry, your propaganda has not touched me in any way, any more than the Chinese Maoist propaganda of the People's Republic of China, when I was there. Funny how some countries refuse to face up to reality, and cover everything with a veneer of home-spun propaganda.

Back in Shanghai, China I saw the way the Red Guards treated the ordinay people. I was appalled by their attitude. When I got back home, I vowed to fight against them. This I did with gusto. Today, that moment came, when I saw the U.S. for what it was and decided to take action aganist it, all over the world. I am very proud to be an individual and can stand up to anyone. What guides me most, is intelligence, that is something you Americans lack.

My greatest hero, believe it or not, is that grand old Englishman, Thomas Paine. I like him, I will stand against all comers. Yes! the same Thomas Paine that you call an American.

Verily, the pen is mightier than the sword!

Tom
|
Illinois, USA
October 11, 2007

Tom in Illinois writes:
I think some of the nuance you'd like to see can be found in a forum and debate on Iran taking place at the Encyclopaedia Britannica blog

Some very prominent, knowledgeable, and thoughtful people are posting there, as well as some who are more, shall we say . . . impassioned?

Brad
|
Florida, USA
October 11, 2007

Brad in Florida writes:
Mr. McCormick:

I appreciate your point.

The concern I have is that the "engage" side of the coin assumes Iran and the U.S. have compatible goals, absent which diplomacy" - even with 'carrots' and 'sticks' - is still just talking.

We believe Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program. As I understand it, we also believe Iran's goal is to dominate the Middle East & Southwest Asia, which will require (at a minimum) that it either eject, or at least neutralize, the United States. Finally, we believe Iran sees its nuclear weapons program as the means by which it will accomplish its ejectment/neutralization of the United States / domination of the Middle East & Southwest Asia, that no one will challenge Iran once it openly possesses nuclear weapons. There is no indication that I'm aware of that Iran is interested in ratcheting down its goals, no indication that it is ready to live with Israel in peace & to accept American influences in the region.

As an attorney, I engage in negotiations all the time (far less complex, I admit). There's one constant - if one side's goal is victory and the other's is settlement, THERE WILL BE NO SETTLEMENT.

I see no indication the Iranians are interested in abandoning "victory" as they define it, in which case their participation in any "negotiation" will not be devoted to "settlement" - except on their terms. Assuming the United states refuses to surrender (and there's a significant block of our electorate who'd be fine with that), the Iranian's participation will be intended to advance "victory."

Now, how does that play out, given what we believe to be the facts on the ground?

* Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

* Iran doesn't have them yet.

* Iran believes the tables will be turned as soon as it gets them.

* Iran believes the United States won't act against it as long as there's some 'hope' that 'negotiations' will prevent conflict.

Doesn't it seem obvious that an Iran devoted to "victory" will use 'negotiations' to forestall any move against it until Iran has nuclear weapons?

Why does anyone at State believe Iran's goals are compatible with our own?

Kenneth
October 11, 2007

Kenneth writes:

@ Dave in Florida -- This is not the early 20th century. To speak of: "Talk softly and carry a big stick," as Teddy Roosevelt said. We are now in the 21st century and things are a lot different. They other chap might also have a big stick, even though he does not talk softly, so be aware of its pitfalls.

Who came up with idea of talking religion to the Iranians. Gary Wills, might have his head separated from his body, if he started to talk about any religion but Shiite Islam.

What I said earlier, was true. You Americans have no idea about the world you live in. You assume too much, which is not in evidence. What, does Dave from Florida want? To have Gary Wells' head separated from his body.

Remember something that is very important. If you are to take up an issue, make sure you have studied all the facts. I know, what I am talking about, because I study history and religion. I note that even the people employed by the U.S. Department of State, are not experienced, and it becomes obvious, when they say or express themselves. Don't shoot your mouth off, when you are not an erudite. You are liable to make people realize that you are a rank amateur.

I could give you people a history lesson. I mean even in U.S. history. I write articles on it and advise people. You are still wet behind the ears, you can take that from me.

Catherine
|
California, USA
October 11, 2007

Catherine in California writes:
The situation with Iran and the rest of the Middle East and Asia is complicated. I applaud the State Department for dealing with the threats and promises on a daily basis.

Most frustrating to me is the fact that U.S. policy has failed to do a good job of employing the Iranian people, inside and outside Iran, who are willing to overthrow that radical regime with help from the U.S. There are many opposition groups around the world including the controversial MEK, which the DOS classifies as a terrorist group. A large group of the MEK are under our protection inside Iraq. Before we invaded Iraq. the MEK had protection of Saddam Hussein in exchange for the MEK protecting the border between Iran and Iraq.

Mu question is why the U.S. doesn't negotiate with the MEK leaders, exiled in Paris, and other opposition groups to empower them to take out the regime.
The MEK has given the U.S. the first accurate reports of Iran's nuclear program, among other intelligence.

It is unclear to me why the U.S. doesn't make a full-hearted attempt to assist expatriates and Iranian, who face more and more repression, instead of focusing solely on military invention vs. direct negotiations with Iran, a terrorist state.

We may be able to avoid military action with Iran or giving in to fruitless negotiations with the Regime which has never given us a thing.
Can you enlighten me?

Thank you and take care.

Eric
|
New York, USA
October 11, 2007

Eric in New York writes:
In the presidents words, "I stand before you as a wartime President. I wish I didn't have to say that, but an enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, declared war on the United States of America. And war is what we're engaged in. The struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it's a struggle for civilization. We fight for a free way of life against a new barbarism -- an ideology whose followers have killed thousands on American soil, and seek to kill again on even a greater scale.

We fight for the possibility that decent men and women across the broader Middle East can realize their destiny -- and raise up societies based on freedom and justice and personal dignity. And as long as I'm Commander-in-Chief we will fight to win. I'm confident that we will prevail. I'm confident we'll prevail because we have the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known ", the truth is alluded to yet concealed.

The goals of diplomacy are apparent. To avoid open hostilities when progress is being made diplomatically.

However, a "new barbarism" is not the truth. There are those of a belief that their religion should govern the globe. This is the truth and not new by any means. The US, her allies and those who seek a mutually progressive way of life must continue with resolve in this path toward freedom and justice while at some point, again, making a demand that those nations either stand true with us, feign support in hopes of failure or openly be held in defiance. The latter two are becoming more obvious by the day as citizens around the globe are faced with the reality of what exactly these beliefs transform into, terrorism in furtherance of their cause, religious supremacy.

Is it diplomacy to deny the truth of these religious imperialists as innocent people die waiting for this great power to behave as confidently as it speaks? Is tolerance the new word for lack of resolve?

Brad in Florida makes an excellent observation, diplomacy can become a useful tool of the opposition in weakening resolve. Should the resolve of ending this imperialistic religion ( I apologize if I don't mince words) weaken then the victory the other half seeks will be further exacerbated by would be followers. Jumping on the band wagon so to speak. Should that occur the world will definitely be more divided and at a horrific price.

How much walking must one do before using his big stick? Will the stroll end in clouds of mushroom dust?

Eric
|
New York, USA
October 11, 2007

Eric in New York writes:
@ Kenneth in Canada -- It is with great sadness that I must read words of such ignorance on this blog before hearing them on C-SPAN, from the UN or from Columbia University.

Nina
|
United States
October 12, 2007

Nina in U.S.A. writes:
Stop the dogs of war. Have you learned nothing from the horror you have created in Iraq and yet pine for more?

Bloody, blind, stupid fools, no wiser than the beasts you feed upon. Diplomats? What a laugh. You are merely pawns in a game played by madmen. Man of peace or man of war - the peacock spreads his fan.

Find your spines.

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 12, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:

@ Eric in New York -- You said, that it was with great sadness that you must read words of such ignorance on this blog, before hearing it on C-SPAN, from the U.N. or Columbia University (the old King's College). Perhaps the real issue here is that you live in a country where ignorance is bliss. Take a good look around you, and what do you see? A land where ignorance has taken hold in a big way.

Your very news media is government controlled, and then you speak of free speech? A free press and free speech are the first victims of any tyranny, including the U.S. Ask your government why it must spy on its citizens? Then ask yourself, is this any better than the Soviet Union of yesteryear? Every American today bows before the altar of mammon, in fear lest they are incarcerated. I ask you is that really living? Do you really believe so?

Some years ago, I paid a visit to Runnymede, England, to view this memorial to our freedoms, and noted that it was built by the American Bar Association. Where has that freedom gone today? Do you know? I doubt it, because you follow the dictates of your federal government without question. I on the other hand do not take government or freedoms lightly. I question anything the government does, because government is known to err.

If Thomas Paine, who wrote Common Sense, were here toady, I am very sure that he would agree with me on all counts. You had better go back and search where you took the wrong turn where the road forked. It is never too late to find your way back to democracy. Thus, it is sorrow, that I have to chide you on the error of your ways. Don't give in to tyranny, because you demean democracy and hurt humanity.

Max
|
Germany
October 12, 2007

Max in Germany writes:
Fighting terror with violence makes the terrorists stronger.

The Americans should ask themselves why the world hates them. Every Story has a piece of truth, like the Story of isolating America.

Actually the people hate Bush and his supporters for his lies and because he can't admit that the main Reason for the Iraq-war is oil.

I hope that the U.S.A. goes another way in 2009.

Mike
|
Kansas, USA
October 12, 2007

Mike in Kansas writes:
@ Ronnie in North Carolina -- Here's a clue for ya, it is about oil as well as the survival of the West! You can thank the LiBruls for that! No refineries built in this country over the last 30 years due to the govt. regulation and accompaning costs, No drilling for oil in Anwar and elsewhere!

What do you think would happen if Iran controlled the oil reserves of the ME??

Oh, thanks for your service!

Mike
|
Kansas, USA
October 12, 2007

Mike in Kansas writes:

@ Jeff in Washington -- Communicate with mad men, terrorists? Again, how many years have we been trying to do just that? This country donates more to the World than Europe combined and yet we are hated?

Are you beginning to see a Pattern here?

schmetterlingtoo
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 12, 2007

S in Washington, DC writes:
I rarely agree with Sec. Rice, but this time I absolutely do. On the subject of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sec. Rice is calling it exactly the way it is. Iran is a liar, it lies continuously-it is how it conducts its foreign policy-you can never ever believe anything it says on the international level-it speaks always with the proverbial forked tongue-all conciliatory and compromising on the outside-to the foreigers, but back on the home front, it goes right back to single-mindedly pursuing its deadly aim to create nuclear weapons-as if Iran had never said a word to the contrary-to the IAEA or to anyone else. With the Persians, still waters run very very deep, their deceptiveness knows no bounds, which explains in part why they are the world's number one exporter of terrorism by proxy-they work below the radar to carry out their objectives against U.S. and Israeli interests-providing arms and logistical support to various terrorist factions throughout the world-not to mention gold shipments. To destroy the U.S. and Israel is part and parcel of Iran's entire raison d'etre, all the way back to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 when they took 89 American embassy hostages for some 444 days.

Accordingly, the U.S., with its allies, is going to have to "deconstruct" the Islamic Republic, and this time France has already stepped up and called out that they will be there with us on this fight.

France is with us on Iran, because it is the right thing to do-it IS Realpolitik writ large, this threat must be gotten rid of-by whatever means necessary.

The Persians will only understand sheer brute firepower-and that is exactly what they should and must expect. This country cannot sit idly by and allow Iran to go forward with nuclear weaponizing-come hell or high water, the cancer known as the Islamic Republic must be surgically removed, or we will never have anything approximating peace in this world, but we could quite actually be facing the end of the world, if Iran is allowed to continue on their path of world destruction.

Kenneth
|
Canada
October 12, 2007

Kenneth in Canada writes:
@ S in Washington, DC -- S from Washington, DC has a very short memory span, is saying that France is now with us. Does he nor remember that President Jacques Chirac of France would not join in the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq? Remember also how Bob Ney called the French SURRENDER MONKEYS. Then went on to change FRENCH FRIES to FREEDOM FRIES, and FRENCH TOAST to FREEDOM TOAST. Short memory S. Do you suffer from loss of memory?

I find it hard to believe that the U.S. is like dog barking up the wrong tree. Get your priorities straight, and go from there.

To the members of the U.S. Department of State, wise-up. You just do not have the intelligence to deal with world issues. Go back to school and learn more, before taking up a job, that is out of your sphere. Are you people not lucky, that I have been approached by parties against the U.S., and I refused to become join them. I also know my true worth. Besides all this, my eldest brother Joe became a GI, during the Korean Conflict in 1950. Yes! I will continue to criticize the U.S. because, if I did not, you people would still be running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

So, if I criticize you understand me well. I really feel sorry for the American people, because they have been mislead by the clowns that they call politicians. Work to make your country better, not worse. Because, there is going to be a tomorrow, and the next generation will have to bear the brunt of the problems that now beset your country.

Remember also, whatever happens we are still family. That is something that cannot go away.

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January 27, 2009

Food for Thought

About the Author: David Nelson serves as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. Video Text… more

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