George Santayana Was Correct
Roger Cohen in the NY Times runs down the missed opportunities with Iran. International Atomic Energy Commission Director General Mohamed ElBaradei says the squandered opportunities under Bush were because of “a combination of ignorance and arrogance.” ElBaradei recounts how BushCo. told him Iran would just buckle eventually, and says, “That was absolutely a mistake.”
Because Cheney pushed the “axis of evil” mantra instead of building upon Iran’s offer to help us in Afghanistan in 2001, an offer to negotaiate in 2003, or another plan on the table in 2005, Iran went forward to create 5,500 centrifuges and 1000 kilos of enriched uranium.
Imagine if Roosevelt in 1942 had said to Stalin, sorry, Joe, we don’t like your Communist ideology so we’re not going to accept your help in crushing the Nazis. I know you’re powerful, but we don’t deal with evil.
That’s a rough equivalent on the stupidity scale of what Bush achieved by consigning Iran’s theocracy to the axis of evil and failing to probe how the country might have helped in two wars and the wider Middle East when the conciliatory Mohammad Khatami was president.
Seldom in the annals of American diplomacy has moral absolutism trumped realism to such devastating effect. Bush gifted Iran increased power without taking even a peek at how that might serve U.S. objectives.
ElBaradei sees two years of talks as necessary to wipe away the mistrust, and envisions how a deal might be constructed:
Iran ceases military support for Hamas and Hezbollah; adopts a “Malaysian” approach to Israel (nonrecognition and noninterference); agrees to work for stability in Iraq and Afghanistan; accepts intrusive International Atomic Energy Agency verification of a limited nuclear program for peaceful ends only; promises to fight Qaeda terrorism; commits to improving its human rights record.
The United States commits itself to the Islamic Republic’s security and endorses its pivotal regional role; accepts Iran’s right to operate a limited enrichment facility with several hundred centrifuges for research purposes; agrees to Iran’s acquiring a new nuclear power reactor from the French; promises to back Iran’s entry into the World Trade Organization; returns seized Iranian assets; lifts all sanctions; and notes past Iranian statements that it will endorse a two-state solution acceptable to the Palestinians.
I know the Bush-defenders will say, “Stop bringing up the past, already. However, as the philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”Click here for reuse options!
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