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Monday, March 02, 2009

Bolton: Why the US should not talk to Iran

Former American ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton gives four reasons why the United States should not be talking to Iran. Two of them are related to Israel and a third is connected to Iraq.
First, diplomacy has not and will not reduce Iran's nuclear program. Ironically, European leaders are belatedly feeling hollow in the pits of their diplomatic stomachs, now that their failed diplomacy has left us with almost no alternatives to a nuclear Iran. Imagine their dismay that President Obama is now "opening" to Iran, thus eviscerating their tentative efforts to "close" the diplomatic cover under which Iran has almost achieved the worst-case outcome, deliverable nuclear weapons.

The West's collective failure to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions has persuaded Iran that it faces minimal risks in greater adventurism on other fronts as well. Mr. Obama's discovery of "carrots and sticks," after a half decade of European failure to make that mantra a successful policy, will lead Tehran's mullahs to one inescapable conclusion: They have won the nuclear race, absent imminent regime change or military action.

Second, dealing with Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria as though they are unrelated to Iran's broader threat is exactly backwards. Mr. Obama is again following Europe's mistaken view that ending the Arab-Israeli conflict will help to resolve other regional problems. But concentrating on Gaza only increases Hamas's leverage, just as negotiating with Syria only enhances its (and thereby Iran's) bargaining power.

We should deal instead with diseases, not symptoms. Changing Tehran's Holocaust-denying regime could end its nuclear program, as well as eliminate its continuing financing of and weapons supplies for Hamas and Hezbollah, reduce its malign hold over Syria, and strengthen Lebanon's fragile democracy. Taming Iran is not a magical cure-all, but surely addressing the central threat is more sensible than haphazardly dealing with the symptoms separately.

Third, Iran opposes a freer, more stable Iraq, and U.S. diplomacy will not change that. Given the recent political and military progress in stabilizing Iraq, Tehran holds a weak hand. Accordingly, legitimizing Iran as a factor in Iraqi affairs via diplomacy is patently illogical and would only strengthen Iran at the very moment Mr. Obama has announced the reduction of America's presence and clout in Iraq.
Why is the Obama administration insisting on talking to Iran? I believe it's due to two factors I pointed out earlier. First, the entire Obama administration has such a case of Bush Derangement Syndrome that it is pathologically incapable of acknowledging that the last administration made any correct decisions. Second, the Obama administration is being driven by an anti-Israel agenda, such that any action's negative impact on Israel is more important to it than any positive impact it may have on the United States or any of its allies.

Four more years of this is a scary prospect.


At 6:05 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

A divorce between the US and Israel appears to be in order. The US may be able to live with a nuclear Iran.

Israel can't and can't wait for the US to come around to acknowledge the threat from Tehran. By that time Israel might no longer exist.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger LB said...

Norman - you're 100% right. As I've said so many times - Israel needs to be sovereign, and not the US's puppet. In what other country is an argument (Livni's) that a rival won't get along with the US an acceptable tactic??


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