How Ought the International Community Engage National Regimes To Transform From Pariahs to Partners?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 6, 2009
Women Raise Their Open Hands in Afghanistan

On February 4, 2009, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns met with P-5+1 counterparts to discuss the approach that the international community will take toward Iran. When asked about Iran, Secretary Clinton said, “Iran has an opportunity to step up and become a productive member of the international community. As President Obama said, we are reaching out a hand, but the fist has to unclench.”

How ought the international community engage national regimes to transform from pariahs to partners?



District Of Columbia, USA
February 7, 2009

Klint in Washington writes:

3 things come to mind..

Handle them individually. Though I despise these bullies, painting them with just one brush can hurt long term attempts to remove these cancers of humanity. They still must be identified and the world reminded of them.

Do what can be done to identify and share with the world who their support locally and perhaps internationally are. These people probably don't work alone and exposing the actual infrastructure vs. aiming it at one person may provide some help in getting some progress made.

Consider offering training refugees/escapees of these problem nations in regards to infrastructure creation and maintenance, medical etc to help turn the stress on their host countries to a benefit. To help the transition perhaps have initial years doing public support work in parts of their host country as part of a pay/scholarship agreement program. This will have additional benefit of positive press for democratic change in regards to their originating country. And perhaps also offer training things in regards to warfare should that card of desperation have to be played as their language and familiarity would be an obvious benefit.

New Mexico, USA
February 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well folks, I think I have a practical answer to this and I do believe President Obama will appreciate the metaphorical and litteral approach presented here, since there's going to be a puppy in the Whitehouse.

It is the nature of puppies to make messes, some of which stink and are deemed socially unacceptable to humans.

So house-training the puppy becomes the first step towards its evolution as a man's best friend.

In order to do this effectively, one must speak the puppy's language.

It serves no useful purpose to talk in rational terms and try to explain things, nor plead with, or yell at the puppy to go against his nature, as puppies will do what puppies do regardless of any attempted human diplomacy.

Nor does it do any good to beat the puppy half to death in anger, you'll simply confuse him as he won't understand why you are doing so since he's simply being a puppy.

Now anyone who has observed the meeting of minds between canines will note that they wag tail on approach, stand head to tail side by side and sniff each other.

This is olfactory communication at it's most refined among the species.

So the practical method for housetraining the puppy involves the olfactory experience of your displeasure with the mess he's just made on your carpet by rubbing his nose in it and evicting him from the house on a case by case basis.

You can't cut the puppy any slack, and the method must be consistantly applied every time he makes a mess till he finally understands. In this process you can pretty well determine the puppy's general level of intelligence by how many times it takes till he gets the message and evolves out of his mess making phase into a proper and respectable dog.

Now maybe some folks reading this may be a little confused as to how this applies to pariahs among the family of nations, so I've included an interpretation for those having a failure of imagination.

The carpet is the fabric of civilized society, and the house holds the family of nations under under one roof in NYC. The messes consist of a miriad of crimes against humanity.

I remember when my dog Paco felt the irresistable urge to raid my neighbor's chicken coop, and my neighbor politely presented his now dead prize rooster, and informed my father that he would simply shoot my dog the next time he came on the property.

My Dad then tied the dead rooster around Paco's neck with bailing wire, and left it there till it rotted off. Needless to say Paco had no house privilages for a very long time. But he never, ever raided another chicken coop again as long as he lived.

I'll leave it to Undersecretary Burns and "the powers that be" in government as to how Paco's example may be best deemed applicable in regards to engaging the world's leading state sponsor of terror.

Maryland, USA
February 7, 2009

Brenda in Maryland writes:

The first step is to take the time to carefully listen to their concerns, understand and accept their culture and embrace our differences. The U.S.A. has for too long imposed our culture on other nations. We have to give up something to gain something.

Tennessee, USA
February 7, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Iran is not like much of what we view as the Middle East. Even Russian diplomats make that well known. They have a strong and formal culture. They are regimented and organized with a history which has affected the entire world in productive manners and they realize this. They do not view themselves as anything other than perhaps the most civilized people in their part of the world and well they may be.

Please view the history:

Iran has been deluged with Russian, American and British intervention for over eight decades, as well as their own internal problems which may well have been instigated for foreign interest. No wonder they are unpredictable. Did anyone even think of this? How would you feel? God, the civil war is just ending here in America. It is the minority who is controlling the majority, and the majority has only the past to premise false fuel to put on our Diplomatic efforts. Combined with Russia who has been overtly antagonistic in all areas in which America has interest.

FREE TRADE with the International community is THE ANSWER or they will be subjugated to Russia. If the people want to be and Independent Nation, they must realize this or be made to understand it.

To be independent, which they have the ability to; they must integrate into the International community in a profitable manner. What is so hard about that? Are they so insecure they need a foreign power to be independent? Apparently they are caught up in believing so without due cause. They have natural resources a well educated population and a strong work force.

First know civilization by 500 years over Egypt; the first known empire; probably the inventors of free global trade; Insurance by Government; Weight, Money and Measurements were standardized in Persia; the first known bricks for construction; windmills; chess; one of the earliest Legal Codes in the world; the first Tax System; noodles were first invented in Persia;from housing to food to engineering, they have had a vast influence on all of us.

It is this proud history of productivity and invention which the world needs to extract again. They have created their own chains this time and must realize it is not the United States or Israel who is subjugating them.

United States
February 7, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Group therapy by the "international community" is best left for the U.N. Making friends out of enemies is always a one-on-one adventure for each national leader.

The Chinese are skilled in turning enemies into friends, bigotry into tolerance, and landscape into food, so I would follow their example, as did president Nixon, who went to China to make friends.

What China taught us seems to have been forgotten.

If you are a president, you go to a nation's leader and ask him, in a diplomatic way, what his problems are generally, and then specifically what is problem is with us, and why we can't be friends.

Once we are friends, we give friendly advice, such as, stop flooding the world with counterfeit currency, or stop borrowing so much money that can never be repaid, or stop stuffing our foreign aid into his personal Swiss bank accounts, stop using our weapons on the neighbors, etc.

He will, of course, ask us to stop funding opposition groups to overthrow him, stop propaganda against his government, stop assassinating his ministers, stop the embargo against his country, and stop the World Bank from destroying his nation's economy.

Naturally, there are some things even a politician won't do, and at that point the magic ends. A pariah without a conscience or ethics or common sense is not going to change merely because we ask. There has to be some sort of humanity remaining in the pariah government for diplomacy to work, and some pariahs just don't have it.

There will always be some places in the world that are better left alone. Iran was once such a place and we messed them up really well, so now instead of an anti-communist government, we face an anti-human government that beats women, executes children, and kidnaps tourists. Had we left them alone to begin with, they would not likely be on our list of pariah states today. Sometimes less engagement is better.

New York, USA
February 7, 2009

Aidara in New York writes:

First, congratulate the state on an issue that it has successfully tackled within its country or the local area. Second, segue into how the state can play a role in improving relations within the larger community. It must be stated who in the international community feels the need for the national regime to transform and why, perhaps reps from those countries should be there as well (this should be executed in a manner that is easily recognized in that country's culture as comfortable or friendly). The members should include neighboring states so that the target nation feels an immediate interest in fixing the issue. Third, it must be stated how this transformation will benefit the respective state and its relationship with its neighbors and the broader community. Fourth, it must be stated how the present condition of the state negatively affects or undermines the state's affairs with its neighbors and the broader community and the state's national interests. The focus should always be on the country and how it can improve its status in the broader community, in this way it will not feel as if someone is demeaning or bullying it. One must preface these suggestions with why an improved version of that state is meaningful to the rest of the community. By giving examples of how such a transformation has improved another state's political and economic relationships, one doesn't have to tell the state what will happen if it doesn't comply. We must keep the ball in the states court and approach the situation as an advocate, not as an expert who knows what is best for the state better than does the state, even if that is the truth. A more engaging and team oriented approach will less likely create a sudden enemy, than the self righteous or ultimatum approach, which should only be used as a last resort.

New Mexico, USA
February 9, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Actually Joe, the Iranian regime behaves worse than animals towards its own people, and if you think I was refering to The People of Iran in my last post as "animals" then that is your problem of willfully misinterpreting the metaphor and as such, everything I've had to say on this subject to date including the history of Persia and Cyrus the Great.

Joe, I've been shot at by professionals, and you'll have to do a lot better than that. Suggest you review your own posts on this archived thread, since your opinions blow every which way the wind does while mine never change on this subject. Though I do present them with some colorful language from time to time...(chuckle)

Let's start with this.

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Right about now I'd say Amanutjob should take his 3-D rose colored glasses and see something besides a green glow emanating from his egotistical megalomaniacal fantasies.

Right about now I'd say most of Iran wishes someday to not be considered the leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Save those that have the responsibility for being such, that is.

Right about now I wonder what changes be the result of a change in policy from "Behavior change" to that of "Regime Change," or more correctly: "Regime Replacement Therapy."?

Right about now I could see sanctions being part of either policy.

Right about now would probably be good , if the intent is to "isolate the regime ", to boot the regime strait out of the UN.

In revoking membership , the regime reaps the reward for having violated every aspect of the UN charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, as well as being in standing violation of SC resolutions on terrorism, Iraq, Lebanon, the "Quartet " agreements on a two-state solution, and the Conventions on Biological and Chemical weapons, in addition to the ones recently passed by the SC regarding the nuclear issues ...with another on the way.

Right about now I suggest we all put on 3-D glasses and look at the whole enchilada, because what hasn't been effective yet is due to the fact that a piecemeal approach has been taken up to this point.

This is not to say that the many issues have not been addressed by the U.S. government in concert with other nations. I mean to say that they are considered separately, and not as a holistic analysis as an approach to sanctions.

I am not impressed with the press' role in all of this, exhorting speculative strike scenarios, and spin offs of dire consequences.

Right about now folks might need a few ideas on how to make the international system work in Iran's case.

I'd start from a simple premise.

"Do right by the people. "

1. Implementation of full international economic and military sanctions on the Islamic Republic regime via UN security council resolution based on human rights, support for terrorism, and this to be tabled with or without IAEA board recommendation on the nuclear threat the theocracy poses.

These two issues alone should be viewed as circumstance the world cannot turn it's back upon, at risk of civilization itself.

2. Full diplomatic sanction and closing of Iranian embassies world-wide. Diplomatic sanction by the UN, and removal of representation from this international forum.

3. Freezing of any and all financial assets of the Islamic Republic regime, their current and former leadership, and corporate interests world-wide.

4. Repeated statements by world leaders publicly calling for the leadership of the Islamic Republic regime to step down peacefully, and to relinquish the government to the hands and will of the Iranian people.

If these basic things cannot be implemented in full, in totality without loopholes, being unanimously " seized of the matter " as an instrument of global political will enforced by the international use of force of arms if needed; Then the chances of realizing " behavior change " are slim indeed.

Whereas regime replacement therapy looks good to a lot of Iranians, and a few of those are convinced it can be done without U.S./Coalition bombs.

Right about now might be a good time to show a little solidarity, and not just with words, but diplomacy.

Lot of hard work to get folks on the same page as it was, over enrichment. Maybe what I've suggested is not possible to achive in the UN. Iran becomes a "test case" for UN reform in multiple ways.

Posted on Fri Feb 15, 2008

New Mexico, USA
February 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov, think's not exactly a good example of "bigotry into tolerance" on any level. China's still a long way off, but we are rubbing off on them as ties improve.

I'm not sure I can properly articulate how strange an honor it is to have my usual opposition in debate use my own terminology ( "group therapy" ) in context with positions I've taken up in the past:

Mr. Assistant Secretary,

Folks compare dealing with issues in Congress like "herding cats" I've been told. In the UN's case, it seems to me to be like herding the entire zoo.

UN reform may still be riding on the back of a snail in terms of progress made overall, but you and the good folks as USUN have given it legs due in no small part to a certain Texan often accused of "Cowboy Diplomacy".

Well Brian, as anyone West of the Pecos will tell you, the job description entails the mending of fences and leading the herd to greener pastures, and is fully dependant on the strength and temperament of the horse ridden.

I've been watching the group therapy sessions for this dysfunctional family of nations that occures regularly in the Security Council and committee for the last 8 years, and I do believe the efforts are showing the promise of potential in that the UN can indeed prove to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Now if only state sponsors of terror in the UN were to be doing the "thorazene shuffle" out the door sans membership, the rest of humanity could dance a jig.

The ideological struggle with extremism is a tag team match in my opinion, and if I may be so bold to suggest this, a lot of folks have "tagged up" prior, and it's the same on the international stage....change is inevitable.....peacefull change is desirable.....and democracy R US, sayeth the people.

We've been fortunate as a nation to have a Commander in Chief with the presence of mind to understand that we don't want to give terrorists the war they want nor expect....on their terms. We give them the war they are neither prepared for nor able to fight...on our's.

A President with the guts to stand with both feet firmly on principal and with compassion for the human condition.

A word of thanks is due.

Godspeed and good luck in your next endeavor sir. Please pass my best regards on to Ambassadors and staff alike.


Posted on Fri Jan 16, 2009

--end archived post--

"cross pollination" at work I guess....(chuckle).

California, USA
February 7, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

First, if we make our own country a shining example of tolerance; eradicating of poverty; funding and extension of superb education; minimizing our military budget in a smart way so we can rebuild our civic society; creating a smart universal health care system; building out concentrated solar thermal -- as examples -- then we will have more of a right to preach mildly to others. Thus preach to ourselves first. Preach to ourselves first, second, and third -- then maybe fourth say some thoughtful words to others.

With this unflinching awareness of the lumber in our own eye, simultaneously we can reach out in earnest collaboration to chip away mutually -- mutually! -- at these challenges with all other countries, many of whom see *us* as a pariah and bully, as a country which shamefully neglects its poorer citizens and our common-wealth responsibilities.

The world could have a Best Practices Conference and folks could bring to the table their cleverest solutions. This respect would bolster the whole world's efforts to become more wholesome for its citizens.

Connecticut, USA
February 7, 2009

Terry in Connecticut writes:

We should talk to less than desirable rigimes on a secondary level for conditions then top level when real dialog can policy change come forward. I hope Pres. Obama and Sec. Clinton adopts this like they say they would.

Virginia, USA
February 7, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

7 Feb 09

I still remember the (444) Days Americans were held hostage in the country of Iran. It would be great if the new Administration was able to communicate and get the results needed. I hope our people never put ourselves in a situation like that ever again.

Let us also remember when one of their airlines was accidently shot down by the United States.

Since Iran started launching Satellites, it should send a signal to our Nation what their true intensions are in the field of intelligence gathering.

This should be of "grave concern" to our National Security that Iran now wants to spy on countries, and most likely the United States.

My gutt feeling is the real reason they want the Satellite coverage is because then they can start putting in the Lattitude and Longitude of future targets. Which also means the missile system they were working on must be in the Advance stages by now. We cannot under estimate what Iran might or might not do.

The real problem faced with President Obama is a combination of many elements that could go wrong. He's worried about the economy and global warming. His number one concern should be to protect the constitution of the United States first. Identify who are our enemies in the world today -- Who would betray the United States? Along with knowing what the Russians intensions are as well. Puton is not going to play a game of checkers with the President. He will no doubt play a game of chess. The stakes will be high.

We should be very concerned, or grave concerned about the intensions of Iran at this moment of time...also keep in mind the relationship Russia has with Iran. Let's also remember Mr. Chavez since he was all prepared to host the Russian war ships at his front door. When you tie in Russia, Iran and Venezuela. You also should include North Korea and any other rogue third world nations. When you talk about Global Warming or Climate Change, if things do not improve in Pakistan, always remember one thing, If Usama bin laden and his terrorist group does get a hold of those 60 plus nuclear warheads, you can count on plenty of ice caps melting if they use them. Along with millions of body bags...

Godbless and praying for Peace!!!

New Mexico, USA
February 9, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

VP Biden's Munich Security Conference Speech:

"When it comes to radical groups that use terror as a tool, radical states that harbor extremists, undermine peace and seek or spread weapons of mass destruction and regimes that systematically kill or ethnically cleanse their own people - we must stand united and use every means at our disposal to end the threat they pose."
-Joe Biden, US Vice President

I would urge folks to read the whole speech and keep in mind that this is the prepared version and that it should be checked with the delivery of his speech.

For those interested in everyone else's, here's the link:

I look forward to tommorrow's session.

The J.
United Kingdom
February 7, 2009

T.J. in the United Kingdom writes:

Pariah Regime? Let us see first of all who is responsible for it's creation and why an escape route was not thought of and see if the colonial mindset overshadowed clear wisdom. We can think of ways to contain and subdue the Monster afterwards.

There was a time when Communism was THE major threat to Capitalism and the Western way of life. A number of " Rulers " were put into power in the logistically and commercially important countries to safeguard the Western interests with total disregard for the people of those countries.

The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR led to the creation of the Islamic movement which consequently led to the 9/11 event.

The 9/11 event shows us that,the sleeping Monster maybe should not have been woken up. It was being weakened by the gradual cultural changes taking place in those countries.

All of a sudden there was a major reaction and those Governments which safeguarded the Western interests and Economy became the new Pariahs. Afghanistan and Iraq are the examples.

Do I agree with that course of action? Yes I do. Doing nothing is more costly.

Engaging the Iranian regime diplomatically can prove very costly. Iranian people should be engaged and supported instead while military action should not be disregarded. Iranian people accept the concept of a massive breakout from the jail that, they have been put in by their Government. Culturally, they easily accept that, there is a price to pay, which the innocent have paid throughout the history of Iran.

Economic sanctions alone are an insult to the Iranian people. It actually has increased their suffering.

Time is short as the point of " No return " is very near.

United Arab Emirates
February 8, 2009

R.R. in the United Arab Emirates writes:

The best method to deal with unresponsive 'pariah' regimes is not to threaten them with military actions or to enforce sanctions on them. Although the latter option weakens their economic base, it empowers their domestic influence which in turn makes them more resilient and resistant to methods of isolation and containment.

Sanctions did not work on Iraq, North Korea, Cuba or any other nationalist 'pariah' state. The only result of these methods has been domestic hostility to the West, especially the U.S., fermented by the ruling caste, not to mention the perpetual suffering of the domestic population which in turn intensfies their hate and anger towards the West.

I agree that some form of sanctions should be used but not to the degree where the population is denied basic requirements of living, a fact abused by leadership to render the entire process counter-productive. Prior to the implementation of these methods there should be constructive efforts by international organizations and NGOs to provide the best services available to this population, through Western monetary, political and logistical support to esentially win the people over.

Sanctions have been part of the daily life of the Iranian regime for the better part of the past 30 years with no progress on the diplomatic and international front towards friendly or even amicable relations with the US and the West. On the contrary. Iran has emerged as an influential and powerful force in the region with a semi-self sufficient economy based on its own natural resources and enterprises, and although not having enough money to be considered a rich nation, can still manage to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars to its 'friends' around the world, aside from modernizing its military, space program as well as its nuclear capabilities.

So sanctions are clearly not working as they were supposed to and the military threat will further worsen relations and domestic opinion, especially in the light of two wars on Muslim countries in the past 8 years.

The ideal solution, despite the fact that its too late, was for the West to win the population over through USAID, education programs, health services, and developmental projects. But this option should have been exercised in the 80s and not now.

For now, I think President Obama is on the right track and should first begin with the removal of sanctions on non-military and non-defense imports, investment and aid. Once the Iranian people realize that their standard of living has improved in an environment of economic and social development, domestic opinion will start to move away from the regime that has caused them suffering since 1979 and they will come to see the West as a force for opportunity, development and freedom.

Only then can regime change be achieved, through the people and not F-16s.

Connecticut, USA
February 8, 2009

Terry in Connecticut writes:

I am no doubt going to enjoy the next 4 and hopefully 8 years of great diplomacy by the way of Pres. Obama and Sec. Hillary Clinton. I believe next week Sec. Clinton with begin her first foreign visits overseas next week. I will be following her trips plus comment here on the State Dept blog. I am a huge admirer of Secretary Clinton and I am pleased that she will do fine. I just saw Vice President Biden's remarks in Munich. He is also a great asset to the new Obama Administration.

February 8, 2009

Catherine in the Philippines writes:

The U.S. Government had always been worrying with a lot of things but it seems like the government is forgetting one thing: The Product of the American-Filipino Alliance. Its the ABANDONED G.I. KIDS IN THE PHILIPPINES. Are we really have to be left out? Is the new president of America is also concern about us? Is he ready to give us back our fathers and help us mentally, financially, spiritually, and morally?

New Mexico, USA
February 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Catherine in the Philippines,

Since President Arroyo just met w/ Sec. Clinton (DoS video), I would say that the U.S. is not forgetting.

United Kingdom
February 8, 2009

Jane in the United Kingdom writes:

Maybe the U.S. government should reconsider its unconditional one-sided support for Israel. Not totally sever its ties with Israel but take into account the Palestinians' point of views...

New Mexico, USA
February 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Since nobody has mentioned Libya yet, I'll just pose the thought that sanctions do work occasionally, and one might anticipate miracles vis a vis Iran if the suggestions included here (originally Posted on Fri Feb 15, 2008) are followed to the letter.

If the U.S. is going to refer to the Iranian regime as a pariah, it should be treated like one.

The Iranian economy is suffering 28-30% inflation not because of the sanctions now upon the regime, but because the regime itself is totally incompetent, and the state owned, and Rev. Guard owned economic model is not viable in a world that thrives on free markets.

So, if they are cut off by the EU, Russia and China to the point where nations accept no exports from Iran period without exception, and the only things the P5+1 exports to Iran is food and basic medical supplies, how long will it take till the regime goes belly up?

The problem has been for a long time now one of the p5+1 nation's economic sectors not being in line with its governments policies to illicit a change of behavior.

This inconsistancy must end for effective diplomacy to work.

There is no compromise to be had with the regime, no "grand bargain" to persue.

As long as the regime knows it it will be propped up by trade, it will continue to abuse its people, abuse international law, murder the innocent through military support for terrorist org's (including Al-Quaida and the Taleban as well as their regular proxi), and persue weapons of mass destruction.

In light of this fact, it would be criminally negligent for any law abiding nation to have any trade relations at all with a state sponsor of terror. Period. For any reason.

As well, how can this regime be called a pariah when it still enjoys the privilage (not an inherant right of a nation) of having by charter membership, a seat and a vote in the UN?

Will someone @ State please explain this long standing paradox to me?

"Law is Logic" but this makes no sense at all to many people inside and outside Iran trying to end their 30 year national nightmare.

February 8, 2009

Nuno R. in Portugal writes:

Actually this is the "question of the year". And one that doesn't have only one set of answers, or definite ones.

But the question itself already indicates an important political direction: the awareness that political conflict is not a metaphysical issue (at least not most of the times), but a state of tension that can be reduced, minized, eliminated or transformed.

Although "pariah" implies not only adversarial notions towards one country, but antagonism towards the whole humankind, international law or international society (vg piracy states, there could be some room for tension management:

*If "pariahs" are not monolyths (nothing in life really is), dialogue and confidence building with "unclenched fist" sectors of their society, intellectual, cultural, arts/sports, business and even political structures could be productive.

*If "pariahs" are ready to discard the most serious of their international violations (as supposed to all violations abhorrent to decent people), maybe there would be room for additional dialogue.

*If "pariahs" are giving some room to escape, that doesn't constitute amnesty of serious guilt, amnesia or a renounce to decency, but only technical ways of avoiding worst evils, maybe an internal process of reform (and, who knows, transfer of power, could start).

*If the dialogue with "pariahs" on "common values" is often impossible (besides lip service and double speak), the contact and discussion of "common objectives" or "common threats" (vg resources, environment, human security, etc) could produce some results.

*There are several "degress" of transforming a "pariah" in "partner": alleviation of local citizens or populations under a pariah's administration is only one.

*Transforming "pariah" into "partner" should not ignore the venial sin of naivete. Sometimes military and political pressure should never leave the table. At any rate, sound analysis and the need to select case by case is crucial.

Regards and thank you for the blog.

If a pariah state would have a blog, and if there could be ample access and debate, that would be good news.

Nuno R.

New York, USA
February 8, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

How to bring all Nations into the Global Community:


Stop using terms like "Paraiah"

How we speak sets us up for how we act.


Find a mutual goal and work toward it.

Iran has many needs;we can assist with.

A golden opportunity for cooperation was lost when Iran was faced with drug addiction and HIV/AIDS crisis in the late '80's and '90's.


Creat strong bridges between US Irani and Irani citizens.

Synergize our positive activities. Stay on the high road.


Resist the urge to define nations as "Axis of Evil" states.....The result was an "Axis of Oval".

5th and final:

If USG sets nuclear power as the gold standard; don't act shocked when other nations seek this power...Iran now has the Atomic symbol emblazoned on its currency!

United States
February 8, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico, think Vietnam and how we were sucked into that war on the basis of a bogus "Gulf of Tonkin" incident manufactured by LBJ. Think of Iraq, a war we never needed because the threat was never imminent but manufactured and exploited by exaggerated paranoia over 9/11.

The Iran offers the same "opportunity" if we make the same mistakes, and oddly enough, we find our government officials who were against that war now suggesting we ought to start another war like we did for the last two.

The Iranian people are not praying for an Israeli or U.S. bombing run to set them free.

Iranians see themselves capable of governing themselves, and as they have proven with the Shah, they have the capacity to throw off any government they find oppressive or uncaring. The Shah's own son strongly advised against attacking Iran. Most Iranians agree with him. If Iranians reach a consensus that they dislike or distrust their own government, they will change it as they have done in the past, either with or without our help.

Paranoia can be a good thing, but our government has reached the point where airline passengers risk being labelled "a terrorist" if they reject a genital search, or question a stewardess about food quality, or ask for too many blankets, or spank their child.

If you are on the "no-fly list", you will not be celebrating your safety as you are led away for questioning. If you are locked away for 3 months without any opportunity for a court hearing or a lawyer, as was the mother who spanked her child on a flight, you will not be thanking anyone in the government for that.

Wendy in California gave good advice -- first we must be an example worthy of the pariah nation to envy.

So far, we have succeeded in making pariah leaders envy our nuclear arsenal and imitating us. Now if we could get them to envy our sanity, honesty, and trustworthyness, we might get somewhere in talking to them.

February 8, 2009

Taliah writes:

In order to transform from pariahs to partners, one must show respect and dipomacy. That is the only way to go personally. Violence will get no one anywhere.

United Kingdom
February 8, 2009

Chris in the United Kingdom writes:

First of all, treat all countries as equal.

That does not mean giving them equal treatment. That means that the standards by which treatment is decided are the same for everybody.

The U.S. cannot expect to have any legitimacy to talk about pariah states and international politics, when it continues to financially sponsor racist and terrorist state (you know what I'm talking about). It also cannot be seen as anything else than a hypocrite when it keeps promoting historical revisionism and historical lies about the international world. Again you know what I'm talking about.

There are many international hotspots in the world, many better, many worse, but as long as the U.S. not only fails to criticize one of the most racist and oppresive states in the world, carrying our the longest standing attrocity of the modern world, but also presents that state as the 'victim', and grants it massive benefits no other state in the world enjoys, it can never truly convince the world that it cares at all about 'pariahs' and 'non-partners'.

Illinois, USA
February 8, 2009

Emman in Illinois writes:

It has been over 60 years of pure hell for Palestinians since the founding of the state of israel. Gerald Kaufman, a son of Holocaust survivors and himself a Jew stated that 'Israel was founded under terrorism". Israel has terrorized Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip since 1967 by demolishing their homes, confiscating their lands, installing pointless checkpoints, the apartheid wall, illegal detentions for people thrown into prisons with no charges. When activists attempt to show the world what israel is doing, they are murdered like Rachel Corrie was. Our government continues to support israel, blindly, and frankly many people are starting to realise this and know that this unwavering policy is wrong. It must stop. The racism, the humiliation, the mass murder of children in Gaza using phosphorous and other chemical weapons is illegal. When we stand by israel we are dimished in the world community. Justice has to be served and as Americans we must boycott, divest, and sanction israel like we did with South Africa.

New Mexico, USA
February 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ T.J. in the United Kingdom,

Your post made me think of Admiral Yamamoto's statement shortly after his forces had attacked Pearl Harbor:

"I fear we have awoken the sleeping giant."

Bin laden should have studied a little more history in my opinion, as we tend to oblige our enemies with total and devatstating defeat, unconditionally.

And we all know how that war ended.

I'm a little unclear on your "sleeping Monster" reference, but I don't think you're refering to the U.S. in this regard.

As for post-colonial cold war hangovers, I was once told by an Iranian that underneath every Mullah's beard is tatooed, "Made in UK."

Perhaps this is the mindset you are refering to, so I thought I'd ask.

Both you and Nuno R. in Portugal spoke of an "escape rout" for Pariahs...OK

What if the international community gave the leadership of Iran 48 hours to go back to their Mosques and never participate in politics again to avoid inevitable "serious concequences" as a last ditch diplomatic effort before the last option left on the table is used?

Would that satisfy your criteria for "escape"?


@ Ron in New York

When the U.S. government call things as it sees it, it definately should act on it.

If it calls it Genocide, or Terrorism, or a Crime against Humanity...or a nation a "pariah"... We cannot afford to sin by silence and inaction.

That's how pariahs are allowed to become such in the first place.

Sharon T.
California, USA
February 8, 2009

Sharon in California writes:

WE need to change our language toward those who don't agree with us. For instance "pariahs" -- this is bound to elicit negative reaction. Is this what we want? How about "non-partners to partners." This is just a start to the changes that need to be made to elicit different reactions from these non-cooperative people.

WE need to become world-centric rather than U.S.-centric in our approach to other nations -- they have histories, cultures and ways of conducting their lives very different from ours. We can't set world standards regardless of how much we would like to. The boomarang will come back to haunt us again and again if we don't cease these behaviors.

Nuno R.
February 8, 2009

Nuno R. in Portugal writes:

To the moderator: sorry. My previous entry was totally incomprehensible and unusable (never write on a rented wireless with a faulty keyboard and a jammed mouse, on a bumpy road, while doing other things)

A revised version:

Actually this is the "question of the year", and one that doesn't have only one set of answers, or definitive ones.

But the question itself already indicates an important direction: the awareness that political conflict is not a metaphysical issue (at least not most of the times), but a state of tension that can be reduced, minimized, eliminated or transformed.

Although the word "pariah" implies not only adversarial notions towards one country, but antagonism towards the whole humankind, international law or international society (v.g. piracy states), there could be some room for tension management:

*If "pariahs" are not monoliths (nothing in life really is), dialogue and confidence-building interface with "unclenched fist" sectors of their society, with intellectual, cultural, arts/sports, business and even political structures, with individuals rather than with institutions could be very productive.

*If "pariahs" are ready to discard the most serious of their international violations (as opposed to all violations abhorrent to decent people), maybe there would be room for additional dialogue.

*If "pariahs" are given some room to escape, that in itself doesn't constitute amnesty of serious guilt, amnesia or a renunciation of decency, but only amounts to a technical way of avoiding worst evils, maybe an internal process of reform (and, who knows, transfer of power), could start. Carrot and stick, I suppose...

*If the dialogue with "pariahs" on "common values" is often impossible (besides lip service and double speak), and a contradiction, the contact and discussion of "common objectives" or "common threats" (v.g. resources, environment, human security, etc) could produce some results.

*If there could be "prizes" to be achieved by "pariah" states ready to reform themselves (either prizes tested on other reformed regimes, or new ones), internal processes could accelerate.


*There are several "degrees" of transforming a "pariah" into "partner": alleviation of grievances of local citizens or populations under a pariah's administration is only one. Others, for example, can evolve persuasion, political debate, propaganda, etc. Where is the USIA when we need one?

*Transforming "pariah" into "partner" should not ignore the venial sin of naivete. Sometimes military and political pressure, hard and soft power, among other state tools, should never leave the table. At any rate, sound analysis and the need to select in a case by case basis is crucial. Don't treat as equal what is different. Don't treat as different something that is equal. Always analyse and determine similarities and differences in national case studies.

*At the end of the day, some pariah states are irreformable, or impossible to transform into more than opportunistic, unreliable partners. This is the case of "ideological" or "fundamental" pariahs, as opposed to ones driven into pariah condition by accident, need, hostility or error of others, etc.

Regards and thanks for this blog.

P.S. -- If a pariah state would ever have a blog, and if there could be ample access and debate to it, that would be good news.

Nuno R.

Colorado, USA
February 8, 2009

Ann in Colorado writes:

First and foremost by showing all countries respect, as President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have started to do. I believe that economic sanctions are a total waste and only hurt the common people. Look at Cuba and Iran for example; sanctions have not changed the governments one iota. Instead of threats and asking the governments to change their approaches before we'll talk with them (like Iran. I heard that the Obama administration is still requiring Iran to stop its development of nuclear power and energy before talks will begin. That's a one-way street to repeating the failures of the last 8 years!!), we should be talking and incentivizing to the max. So stop demanding pre-conditions and start talking and start offering incentives and above all, show these countries and their governments and people respect.

New Mexico, USA
February 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Nuno R., Indeed comprehention can be conditions based, but you came in loud and clear. Thanks for your perspective!

( A coffee inundated keyboard, and a feline saboteur who thinks my mouse is the real thing is not exactly helpful either, so you have my sympathies ....chuckle.)

Here, try this:

Best of luck......



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