The fallacy of negotiating with Iran

Oliver North:

More than four decades ago, while I was a Naval Academy Midshipman visiting this delightful seaport city, one of my summer reading texts was "Sufferings in Africa." Originally published in 1817 by Capt. James Riley, the book is said to have influenced young Abraham Lincoln profoundly to the necessity for abolishing slavery. The tome ought to be required reading for U.S. politicians and diplomats who insist that meeting and talking with Iranian officials -- as they did this week in Baghdad -- can be a productive endeavor.

Without giving away too much, Riley's account of what he endured nearly two centuries ago as a shipwrecked American merchant sea captain, enslaved by "Mohammedan Arabs" -- as he called his captors -- is still relevant today. His observations are particularly germane to how we deal with modern radical Islamists, the prospect of a nuclear Jihad being waged against us and the fate of westerners in their hands.

Riley's perspective is that of a devout, articulate Christian who suffered terribly in the clutches of men who "performed all the rituals of their religion," but who "set no bounds to their anger and resentment, and regard no law but that of superior force." It's a lesson that's been missed by those who believe we can find common ground by talking with the theocrats running Iran.

Riley would not be surprised at the lack of progress in our discussions with the Iranian regime. The teacups barely had been picked up after this week's Green Zone gab fest between U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi before Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appeared before the television cameras to declare that Iran's quest for nuclear weapons would continue unabated.

...

... we are told, this week's "discussion" was a follow-up to the May 28 meeting in which the parties were supposed to find common ground for cooperation on security in Iraq. According to our State Department's news release, the purpose of the Baghdad talks is for both sides to find a way to create "a secure, stable, democratic, federal Iraq, in control of its own security, at peace with its neighbors." Unfortunately, in a moment of undiplomatic candor, Ambassador Crocker let it slip that Iranian meddling in Iraq has increased since the most recent soiree. "The fact is," said the ambassador, "that over the roughly two months since our last meetings, we have actually seen militia-related activity that can be attributed to Iranian support go up and not down."

...
We are operating under the false assumptions of the Baker-Hamilton report that Iran has an interest in a stable Iraq. There only interest in a stable Iraq is one that they dominate and that is what the importation of weapons is designed to achieve. They share a goal of the Democrats in seeing the US humiliated in Iraq so that we we give them a free hand in the region. At best we are going through the motions of having these talks to prove just how mistaken the assumptions of Baker-Hamilton are so that we can buy more time for the real effort being done by our military in Iraq.

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