Talking To Iran Is Not Appeasement

March 23, 2009

was glad to see President Obama’s conciliatory message to Iran, and unlike, apparently, most of the mainstream media, I was likewise cheered by the Iranian response. I won’t try everyone’s patience with my take on US-Iranian relations, but I will point out two things.

First, talk is really cheap. This cuts both ways. On the one hand, the president’s message to the Iranians costs us nothing, and in no way compromises our bargaining position. The argument that somehow TALKING to the Iranians, or not using endlessly hostile language, compromises our position or is some form of appeasement in and of itself is absurd. For the same reason, it is absurd that we are loath to conduct diplomacy with are adversaries. Since when is clearly communicating one’s interests a capitulation? On the other hand, we have no reason to believe that the Iranians will warm to us based on a few kind words from our president. If Kim Jong-Il were to make a nice speech for us, would we swoon?

Second, there’s this line from Ayatollah Khamenei:

“Regarding our vital issues, we are not sentimental. We do not make decisions based on emotion. We make decisions through calculation.”
(h/t: Steve Walt)

How do all those naysayers, who have argued that the Iranians can’t be bargained with because of their irrational and clouded religious-fundamentalist and ideological minds, reconcile their claims with this statement? This sounds pretty hardcore rational to me.


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