That’s what Kevin Drum is wondering, and I think he has a some compelling evidence to back up the claim they want to negotiate.
It started on May 6, 2003, shortly after George Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. On that day the Associated Press reported without elaboration that Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman had confirmed that “Iran has exchanged messages with U.S. officials about Iraq through the Swiss Embassy, which represents U.S. interests in Tehran. He declined to give details.”
True, that was 3 years ago. But given US intelligence chief John Negroponte’s recent admission that Iran is still years away from actually getting a nuke, don’t we think it’s a better strategy to start talking now so we can avoid another fight that would only further inflame the hatred in the Middle East for our pre-emptive policing?
And let’s not forget that recent polls show that the American public is very skiddish about military action. Yes, we don’t want Iran’s leaders to get access to nuclear weapons, but if they’re years away I’m thinking that direct diplomacy is better than brute force.
Regardless of the anything that’s on the table right now, here are some things to think about. If Iran were to EVER strike Israel with a nuke, they’d return the favor ten fold. Yes, Israel would suffer significant damage, but the country of Iran would nearly be wiped off the map completely. There is no mutually assured destruction in this scenario and Iran knows it. So honestly, I think all of their talk is sabre-rattling…the same tactics that North Korea uses to gain favor/money/aid. True, North Korea doesn’t have the spectre of extreme Islam hanging over them, but I really don’t think Iran is stupid enough to not realize the precarious position they’re in presently. And yes, they have the oil, but are their leaders really willing to sacrifice the entire nation just to strike Israel? Personally, I don’t think the Iranian people would let that happen.
Of course, only time will tell if this logic is sound. But for now why not go forward with a strategy to talk to these people, regardless of what nutty $#!+ they’ve said, and work out some type of nuclear compromise. I mean, are we really so naive to not realize that eventually ever single modernized country will get their hands on nuclear materials of some form to create energy and weapons? We’ve got to plan for that world, and right now our leaders have their eyes on a scenario that even their own intelligence chief says is years off. A smarter strategy is needed for this continued struggle against the militant Islamists and we can start with Iran now…before it’s too late.