Negotiate With Iran!

Five former U. S. Secretaries of State have recommended negotiations with Iran to resolve the various issues between that country and ours, particularly Iran’s nuclear development program:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five former U.S. secretaries of state said on Monday the next American administration should talk to Iran, a foe President George W. Bush has generally shunned as part of an “axis of evil.”

Engaging Iran is important because Washington’s military options against Tehran are unsatisfactory, said the diplomats, who worked for Republican and Democratic administrations.

The five — Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker and Henry Kissinger — all said they favored talking to Iran as part of a strategy to stop Tehran’s development of a nuclear weapons program.

Presumably, they mean talks at a somewhat higher level. There were low-level talks between Iran and the U. S. on at least three occasions in 2007, I believe about Iraq.

Since I’ve favored just this course of action for some years now, I don’t disagree. But I did notice that of the five four had opportunities while they were actually serving to do what they’re advocating now and didn’t do so. Did they advocate this course of action while they were in office? Why didn’t they do so publicly? Have conditions changed over the last couple of years that make it more favorable to negotiate with Iran now than then?

FILED UNDER: General, ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Did they advocate this course of action while they were in office?

    You must be too young to remember Kissinger’s record. He was about as close with the Iranian government at the time as the US had ever been.

    Check out this lovely picture: http://iranpoliticsclub.net/photos/alahazrat/pages/Kissinger,%20Shah%20&%20Zahedi_jpg.htm

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Precisely why I wrote “of the five, four”, Triumph.

  3. pylon says:

    I doubt Powell was free to speak his mind publicly.

  4. Bithead says:

    Likley, this has to do with Iran’s claims of military, particularly nuclear superiority. Of course what we don’t get asked abot is if they’re so vastly superior, why is it that they’ve not made good on their claims of being able to conrtol the region, in spite of their extremist mindset?

    The obviuosly conclusion is that Iran’s enaging in puffery, trying to make themselves look more a threat than they really are. On the basis of what it looks like, we’re now suppsoed to react. They’re dealing from a busted flush, folks.

    And so along come a number of people whose life has been negotiation. It’s said that a man with a hammer thinks every problem a nail. Should it shock anyone that these would think we should ‘negotiate’ before we even define what the hell we’re negotiating?

    And why does all this get mentioned just NOW? Well, ya see there’s this little event in November…

  5. anjin-san says:

    And why does all this get mentioned just NOW? Well, ya see there’s this little event in November…

    No doubt James Baker is part of the vast left wing conspiracy.

    Perhaps he just feels bad about putting GW in the White House. He should.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    You beat me to it, anjin-san. Somehow I doubt that James Baker is saying this as a boon to the Obama campaign.

  7. Bithead says:

    No doubt James Baker is part of the vast left wing conspiracy.

    I was speaking to the recently intensified noise level coming out of Iran. Is it that hard to figure that Iran might be playing events to it’s own advantage?

    And what caused all these folks to get together, just now, or were they interviewed seperately by phone, by someone looking to create a story? I see nothing in the strt to inducate the conditions under which these comments were made…

    So, again, I ask: And why does all this get mentioned just NOW?

    And the answer of course is rather obvioulsy, the forthcoming election.

  8. anjin-san says:

    The obviuosly conclusion is that Iran’s enaging in puffery, trying to make themselves look more a threat than they really are.

    That’s interesting Bit, because you are the chicken little who has been running around screaming about the 10 foot tall Iranians and how they are going to end our way of life.

    And what do you do when Iran threatens us with Nukes? I mean, how do you look in a beard?
    Posted by Bithead | August 11, 2008 | 09:56 pm | Permalink

    But then, I keep forgetting that your political views are driven by the expedience of the moment

  9. Bithead says:

    Hardly.

    In the long term, certainly Nukes will be an issue to the level I spoke of in your quote. But the point is theiy’re not there yet, else we’d already see them controlling the region as they claim they can.

  10. Bithead says:

    And by the way, Anjin, thank for providing evidnce you’re going to argue againt me no matter what I say.

    You do know you did that, right?
    And you dare lecture ME on “expedience of the moment”? Pathetic.

  11. Triumph says:

    Precisely why I wrote “of the five, four”, Triumph.

    Sorry dude, old guys like me need glasses.

  12. anjin-san says:

    thank for providing evidnce you’re going to argue againt me no matter what I say.

    This sounds like a good thing to me. A rare win for the Bush White House. And I agree with Bit, there is such a thing as a win/win.

    Nukes are a fact of life. So are governments we do not approve of. We have to seek ways to deal with them that do not involve violence… Speak softly and carry a big stick. Words of wisdom.
    Posted by anjin-san | June 27, 2008 | 02:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I dare to lecture you 🙂

  13. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Anjin, do you understand if the Iranians are allowed to develope nuclear weapons there will be nuclear war in the Middle East? They have absolutely threatened Israel. Make no mistake about that. If you think those threats are to be taken lightly, move to Tel Aviv. The leadership in Iran believe, not like you believe in anything, in the coming of the 12th Imam and they can bring it about by causing the final war. Their purpose is clear. What part of that is it you fail to grasp? I wonder if you have reached your majority yet.

  14. anjin-san says:

    They have absolutely threatened Israel.

    OK. Let Israel take what action it deems necessary. They have the means and will to defend themselves.

    Tell me Rags, have you enlisted so that you can be in the first wave going into Iran? (my guess is no)

    Their purpose is clear. What part of that is it you fail to grasp? I wonder if you have reached your majority yet.

    Ah so you grasp the situation, and James Bakker III does not? I see. Why don’t you get in touch with him and ask him if he has reached his majority…

  15. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Anjin, you jerk, I served in my time, what have you done except critize others? So, you think nuclear war in the Middle East should be allowed to happen. I always thought you the fool. Now I am sure of it. I will no longer either read nor respond to any of the idiocy you find time to write. You quote diplomats as a source of some kind of wisdom. I notice how well the world is doing because of diplomats. What was James Baker ever elected to do that had to do with knowledge or leadership. Tic tic tic, waiting.

  16. anjin-san says:

    I will no longer either read nor respond

    Wow. I am really being punished here!

    What was James Baker ever elected to do that had to do with knowledge or leadership. Tic tic tic, waiting.

    It would be comic, if not so really, really sad. Dude, if you are not going to read my posts any more, what are you waiting for? A cookie?

  17. Fence says:

    Is it really necessary that it be proven every day on this website why the country’s political process is so broken? If even the engaged voters here can’t help but see every issue as red vs. blue, well, we get what we deserve.

  18. Bithead says:

    I always thought you the fool.

    Thus showing you have a firm grasp on reality.

    Yes, I dare to lecture you 🙂

    Thus showing you, OTOH, decidedly do not.

  19. anjin-san says:

    thank for providing evidnce you’re going to argue againt me no matter what I say.

    Runnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn awayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy bit…

    Say bit what up with the “you dare to lecture me”? still wrestling with that “legend in my own mind thing”?

  20. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Bithead, as you know anjin has been infesting this site since at least the last national election. Time has not made him wiser and I think nothing will. You were right, he will argue with you no matter which side of the argument you take. I believe the term is contrary. The fact former heads of the dept. of State think we should talk to Iran should not surprise anyone. Than they continue down this path after having dealt with Iran during the Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis only shows they are unable to learn from past experiences. I suggest one and only one diplomatic message. That is to stop and desist in the production of the tools to make nuclear weapons or suffer the consequences. If we are going to have to fight them, it is much better to do it before they are armed with nuclear weapons. They are on a suicidal course. I hope we choose not to join them.

  21. John425 says:

    Negotiate what? What are our bargaining chips?

    Let’s wait ’til after the election and President Obama can send Neville Chamberlain as his emissary.

  22. anjin-san says:

    They have absolutely threatened Israel.

    Palin just threatened Russia. Should they be preparing a preemptive strike against us?

    Let’s wait ’til after the election and President Obama can send Neville Chamberlain as his emissary.

    Wow. A third-rate GOP talking point. Now there is something you don’t see every day…

  23. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Looks like someone needs to read the unedited version of what Sarah Palin said about Russia and Nato. When you are a blind rat following obamacheese, you can be mislead, even for a pilot. Pile it here and pile it there.

  24. G.A.Phillips says:

    blind rat following obamacheese,

    that was awesome dude lol lol lol…….

  25. anjin-san says:

    Well, this is the transcript from Fox:
    GIBSON: Let’s start, because we are near Russia. Let’s start with Russia and Georgia. The administration has said, we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

    PALIN: First off, we’re going to continue good relations with Saakashvili there. I was able to speak the other day and giving my commitment, as John McCain’s running mate, that we will be committed to Georgia. And we have to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have asserted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable. And we have to keep …

    GIBSON: You believe unprovoked?

    PALIN: I do believe unprovoked. And we have to keep our eyes on Russia. Under the leadership there.

    GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions particularly in the last couple weeks does the proximity of the state give you?

    PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.

    GIBSON: You favor putting Georgia and Ukraine into NATO?

    PALIN: Ukraine definitely yes. Yes. And Georgia. Putin thinks otherwise, obviously he thinks otherwise.

    GIBSON: Under the NATO treaty, wouldn’t we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

    PALIN: Perhaps so. That is the agreement. When you are a NATO ally, is, if another country is attacked, you are going to be expected to be called upon and help.

    I am thinking Russia interprets this as a threat…

    Hey, Rags, you promised to ignore me. Whats up? You walking that back like McCain’s “fundamentals are strong” thing?

  26. Richard Gardner says:

    I think the old joke is applicable (stating up front that this is a joke so folks don’t go looney on it – I heard it when he was Sec of State):

    “None of this would have happened if Warren Christopher were still alive.”

    Or as Dave Schuler states, why didn’t they do something?

    While times do change, I’m not sure with talks with Iran do anything more than maintain the status quo at best as their two-level government (secular and religious) leads to no one able to agree to significant issues.

    As I’ve posted here several times, there is this little thing called International Law and Treaties. The NPT froze in place the nuclear status of the late 1960s for those countries that agreed. In return the non-nuclear nation states got what was considered THEN (pre-Chernobyl) a good deal, civilian nuclear power assistance, and in return they promised not to build a nuclear bomb. Atoms for Peace and all that. Iran is party to the NPT, while India, Pakistan and Israel are not. (N Korea withdrew)

    I have no doubt Iran needs civilian nuclear power. They have a major lack of electricity. However their program is well beyond building power plants at ~3% enrichment, rather bomb grade at >80% U-235.