Reporter's Note: President Obama talked even back during the election about the need to engage America’s enemies in dialogue. But we’ve seen few engagement rings so far.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
After listening to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech this week at the United Nations, you must be having some doubts about your notions that we can talk with these folks. The principle concern has to be his starting place.
Let’s see if I have this right: He thinks Israel should be at worst annihilated, at best sawed off and floated out into the Mediterranean to sink. He thinks the Holocaust never happened. He fancies himself the very model of magnanimous man extending love, democracy, fairness and even-handed justice everywhere he turns. (Uh…about those riots…yeah, have to get back to you on that…) He thinks it imminently unreasonable that the world should question Iran’s nuclear program, and oh btw, other big nations have no business interfering in the Middle East, because after all, if they get into that game, what will the Iranian leaders do for fun? On top of which I think he pretty much sided with Kanye in that whole mess at the video awards.
See what I mean? How do you start a conversation with this guy about peace, or foreign relations, or anything else? He’s like the person who shows up when you are selling your house and offers you a hundred dollars. If you even start negotiating with him, you’ve already lost.
Trust me, I’m a big believer in talking over problems, and I’m often at a bit of a loss when I have disagreements with people who do not want to talk. But before he gets to the table, it seems to me he has to pay the price of admission. (You could call it passing the sanity test, but I suspect he might find that a tad insulting…)
1) He has to say categorically, clearly, and publically that Israel has the same right to exist as any other nation. He has every right to complain about Israel’s attitude, vis-à-vis the Palestinians, but that’s different.
2) He has to acknowledge the Holocaust really happened and was really awful. It’s history that matters.
3) He has to completely open up on this nuclear issue.
If he will agree to all that, then I suspect talks can go somewhere. As it is, I fear any talks you have will swirl endlessly around the edges of those issues, while he angles furiously for aid, lifting of sanctions, and building even more credibility for his regime… which he himself seems to discredit on a regular basis.
Give me a call if you want to chat it over. On a college hunting trip with the elder daughter, so use my cell. Cost of tuition? Yikes!
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