Re “Talk It Out on Iran Before It’s Too Late,” Commentary, Aug. 27: Although Robert E. Hunter’s proposal to heighten American dialogue on happenings in Iran is certainly admirable -- not to mention imperative -- it seems that he has fallen out of touch with the issues while confined to his Brussels mansion as NATO ambassador.
No one wants a nuclear bomb in Iran, but the solution is not “convincing them that they have something vital to gain from forswearing the nuclear option.” The “them,” conveniently never mentioned by name, are the members of the clerical regime who have made Iran the nation listed by the U.S. State Department as the No. 1 terrorist and violator of human rights.
After 25 years of oppressing their people, taking Americans hostage and silencing opposition voices, engaging in a friendly discussion with “them” hardly seems logical. Instead: Mobilize the 60% of the population under 30 who seek reforms; educate them on the power of their voice and nonviolent conflict.
By engaging with the clerical regime we are sending Iranians the wrong message.
Alliance for Democracy in Iran, Washington
Hunter’s piece on negotiation to defuse a possible nuclear confrontation with Iran is a splendid and timely contribution. His thoughtful approach is an archaic, seldom-used practice called “waging peace.” Had the concept been in favor following U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad April Glaspie’s interview with Saddam Hussein in 1990, the invasion of Kuwait and first George Bush war could have been prevented.
Hussein was an ally we had armed and aided in his war with Iran, a country still smarting from our CIA-engineered change in its government. Deaths of thousands, the loss of billions in treasure and catastrophic suffering could have been avoided.
Had President Clinton negotiated peace, rather than a policy of sanctions, ridicule and humiliation, the stage would not have been available for another Bush family disaster in Iraq.
Although there might be emotional stimulation and political longevity in whipping a weak and politically acceptable target, the terrible cost proves that world leadership is the work of thinking adults, not schoolyard bullies.
William S. Patterson