Kerry: U.S., Iran Have Plenty to Talk About
Posted on May 24, 2008
Sen. John Kerry (remember him?) has penned an Op-Ed for The Washington Post, taking issue with President Bush’s—and by extension, John McCain’s—argument that engaging in talks with Iran would constitute a dangerous gesture of “appeasement.” The No. 1 reason Kerry thinks the GOP leaders’ stance is wrong? Well, “In short, not talking to Iran has failed. Miserably.”
John Kerry in The Washington Post:
Bush engages in self-deception arguing that not engaging Iran has worked. In fact, Iran has grown stronger: continuing to master the nuclear fuel cycle; arming militias in Iraq and Lebanon; bolstering extremist anti-Israeli proxies. It has embraced Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and spends lavishly to rebuild Afghanistan, gaining influence across the region.
Instead of backing Bush’s toxic rhetoric, McCain should have called George H.W. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker. After years of stonewalling, the administration grudgingly tested the Baker-Hamilton report’s recommendation and opened talks with Iran—albeit low-level dialogue restricted to the subject of Iraq. Is James Baker an appeaser, too?
While the president attacks political opponents from the Knesset, responsible members of his own administration meet face to face with Iranians. Yes, Ahmadinejad’s words often are abhorrent, and often Iran has played a poisonous role in Middle East politics. But when our ambassador to Iraq meets with his Iranian counterpart, he isn’t courting “the false comfort of appeasement”—he is facing the reality that Iran exerts influence in Iraq. That’s why Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have called for engaging Iran. Appeasers all? Nonsense.
Time to negotiate?: John Kerry thinks that the next U.S. president should open a dialogue with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (above).