This Time, Let’s Say Something Different to Iran

Tomorrow, we’re going to “talk” to Iran – for the umpteenth time in the 30 years of the mullocracy, we’re going to “talk” to them. Yawn.

Tomorrow, we’re going to “talk” to Iran – for the umpteenth time in the 30 years of the mullocracy, we’re going to “talk” to them. Yawn.

Every government should talk to every other government no matter how repugnant if it thinks that stating its case directly will advance its own strategic interests. The same goes for “talking” to terrorist organizations. If Israel really thought that discussions with Hamas would result in changes in Hamas behavior that would advance Israel’s goals of security and legitimacy as a Jewish state in the Middle East, is it conceivable that any government of Israel wouldn’t do it? Doesn’t do it?

The only thing that would make tomorrow’s exercise mildly interesting would be to discover that President Obama had something to say other than, “We’re very, very angry about your secret nuclear facilities and your medium- and long-range missiles, denying the Holocaust and calling Israel ‘bacteria.’ If you don’t stop, we’re going to be even angrier.”

In yet another triumph of hope over experience, we suggest a different approach:

1) Americans are, by nature, “neoconservatives,” believing as Brett Stephens wrote yesterday in The Wall Street Journal: “The internal character of a regime usually predicts the nature of its foreign policy. Governments that are answerable to their own people and accountable to a rule of law tend to respect the rights of their neighbors, honor their treaty commitments, and abide by the international rules of the road. By contrast, regimes that prey on their own citizens are likely to prey on their neighbors as well.”

Iran is of the latter persuasion, thus the idea that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capability or its assault on its citizens is an internal matter is risible.

2) It is not their pursuit of nuclear weapons per se that is problematic; it is the full range of Iranian behavior. The crooked election; beating, imprisoning and killing demonstrators-including young women by sniper fire; jamming cell phone, Internet and other internal communication; arming, training and employing Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel and, increasingly, Egypt and Jordan; arming militias in Iraq to kill Americans and Iraqis and subvert the elected government there in favor of Shiite domination; using Syria as a launching pad for the domination of Lebanon; boosting the capabilities of Hugo Chávez and helping him undermine democratically elected governments in Honduras and Colombia. Nuclear weapons would only increase the scope and range of the other activities because countries would have to take them into account.

3) Therefore, the United States will stand with those people and governments the Iranian government works to undermine-closer to Israel, Egypt and Jordan; closer to the elected governments of Lebanon and Iraq; closer to Honduras and Colombia. Farther from Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and Venezuela-and, of course, closer to the people of Iran.

4) There will be economic, political and perhaps military consequences of that decision. Not for a minute do we think this will change the calculus of Iran’s 30-plus year quest for nuclear weapons and regional domination. But it might encourage the governments of our friends and might encourage the people of Iran-who have been taking to the streets in enormous numbers under enormous threat-to believe in their future.

That would be reason enough for the Government of the United States to “talk” to Iran.