Finally! A national news outlet has published a piece on something I have been railing about for the past several years: the futility of more negotiations with Iran. As Michael Ledeen writes in today's WSJ: "We've Been Talking to Iran for 30 Years". And what do we have to show for all that talk? Absolutely zilch. Nada. Nothing.
It all began with Jimmy Carter after the fall of the Shah in 1979. In an effort to "reach out and engage" the Ayatollah Khomeini and his new revolution, Carter offered "aid, arms and understanding". And what did we get in return? A siege of our Embassy in Tehran and a year-long hostage crisis.
A lot of good that did us.
And it goes on -- every administration since has tried (and failed) to negotiate with Tehran. Here's what Ledeen says about the George W. Bush years -- the administration that was notorious for its (supposed) unwillingness to negotiate: Most recently, the administration of George W. Bush—invariably and falsely described as being totally unwilling to talk to the mullahs—negotiated extensively with Tehran. There were scores of publicly reported meetings, and at least one very secret series of negotiations. These negotiations have rarely been described in the American press, even though they are the subject of a BBC documentary titled "Iran and the West."
At the urging of British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, the U.S. negotiated extensively with Ali Larijani, then-secretary of Iran's National Security Council. By September 2006, an agreement had seemingly been reached. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Nicholas Burns, her top Middle East aide, flew to New York to await the promised arrival of an Iranian delegation, for whom some 300 visas had been issued over the preceding weekend. Mr. Larijani was supposed to announce the suspension of Iranian nuclear enrichment. In exchange, we would lift sanctions. But Mr. Larijani and his delegation never arrived, as the BBC documentary reported.
Negotiations have always been accompanied by sanctions. But neither has produced any change in Iranian behavior...
Thirty years of negotiations and sanctions have failed to end the Iranian nuclear program and its war against the West. Why should anyone think they will work now? A change in Iran requires a change in government. Common sense and moral vision suggest we should support the courageous opposition movement, whose leaders have promised to end support for terrorism and provide total transparency regarding the nuclear program.
Exactly. But this should be no surprise to anyone who even has a basic understanding of revolutionary regimes. They don't want accommodation. The animating principle around revolutionary change is to upset the status-quo. The Shah represented the capitalist West and all its "depravity". It kept Iran from a society based on the core tenets of Shia Islam. Khomeini and the Mullah's sought to destroy Western influences and create a fundamentalist Islamic state -- which they have done so, even as they pay lip service to "democratic elections" (we saw how democratic those elections were this summer). They do this by exporting revolution and their ideology abroad. It is the reason the current Iranian state came into being.
President Obama said during his speech at the recent G20 that Iran "has an opportunity to join the community of nations". This is pure folly. This is not a nation -- sorry, Mr. President -- that wants to be a part of the international community". Iran wants fundamentally to destroy the system, not join it.
The point here is this: Iran isn't interested in substantive negotiations with the United States, Europe or anyone else. We speak different languages -- both literally and figuratively. Iran wants power so that it can further its Islamic goals. It doesn't want to play nice and play in the international sandbox.
This should be crystal clear to anyone who is willing to listen and look objectively at the record of Iran since the 1979 revolution.
Got that, Mr. President?