Dear Ahmadinejad.....

Dear Ahmadinejad.....


ďTo jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war."

-Winston Churchill

Possibly one of the biggest diplomatic errors made in the last decades was the manner in which the Bush Administration chose to handle the Islamic Republic of Iranís first time ever direct letter to a US leader, written by its most conservative leader to date: the controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Although the Iranian manifest was not the ideal letter the Bush Administration would have envisioned, it could still be viewed as a once in a lifetime opening, a rare window of opportunity. Talks could take place, at the very least testing the waters would have no negative effect, any positive effect would come as a bonus. In the light of ever increasing tensions, a situation in which you canít lose and perhaps might gain a little bit too, should be welcomed with open arms. Any true diplomat would have used this narrow opening to defuse the tense status-quo, or so one would expect. Unfortunately the much publicized letter was simply shrugged off as a "ploy" by the Iranians to fracture the UN Security Council on the issue of sanctions. Condoleezza Rice stated shortly after receiving the letter that "This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort." Bush didnít even bother to comment extensively on this 18 page milestone written by his Iranian counterpart.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator called the surprise letter a new "diplomatic opening" and indeed it was, but the way it was handled had the converse effect. To expect the Iranians to reach out a second time only to find themselves embarrassed, belittled and ignored is not plausible, the next window of opportunity might never come. The ideal letter form a neoconservative perspective might have looked like this:

Mister President,

We bow down to you, we suspend our legitimate nuclear activities (even though technically we are not doing anything wrong) as of immediate and recognize the US as the one true ruler of double standards.

Kind Regards,

Your humble servant.

This might sound humorous, I assure you itís not meant as humor, this is deadly serious. Itís absurd to expect from such a proud people to cave in, especially since technically they are not doing anything wrong. Bare in mind that the use of nuclear energy is their legitimate right as NPT members. At the very best, the only accusation to them could be that they fail to swallow the double standards which permit the US and Israel to expand their already enormous stocks of nuclear and biological weapons.

As stated earlier, the letter is not the ideal letter which the neoconservatives might have envisioned. Ahmadinejadís letter is not free of criticism, perhaps itís genuine criticism from a genuine man, perhaps the criticism is purposely inserted in the letter in order to not come across as surrender thus preventing the loss of face. Yet Ahmadinejad (or the people surrounding him) is diplomatically sharp enough to include numerous (semi) compliments and openings too in his rather long address. Respected conservative commentator Patrick Buchanan stated: ďBetter to talk. To test the waters, President Bush might take up Ahmadinejad's missive, manifest the same respect for Islam that he showed for Jesus of Nazareth, rebut his attacks on America and lay down what Bush would like to see in a future relationship with Iran. We have much to talk about: terror, nuclear power, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, oil, what we owe Iran and what Iran owes us."

I tend to agree with Buchanan in general and this time is no exception. Why not criticize the Iranian policy in the same manner in which they criticized the US policy yet insert a few carefully planted openings and (semi) compliments thus leaving the door ajar for further talks?

There are some reasons why the Bush Administration is not tempted to do so. The Administrationís official motive for refusing to talk to the Iranians is that such a bold move would legitimize the Iranian regime. This is hogwash at best, since the regime is already legitimized. Iran has embassies in all major Western nations and vice versa, sans the US and Israel of course. The Islamic Republic also has wide-ranging business relations with most Western nations save Israel and the US. So from an objective point of view one might come to the conclusion that they are already viewed as legitimate by the world without Americaís approval and a legitimate question to be raised would be: why should they not be legitimate in the first place? Whatís their crime? If it were to be violation of human rights, Iran could be categorized as a moderate human rights violator at best, especially if compared to China or Saudi Arabia with which the US has extensive economical and political relations.

Thus it appears that the US Administration is talking out of both sides of its mouth, on the one hand the Administration insists that diplomacy is the way to go, on the other hand no direct talks are taking place. In an interview on CNNís Late Edition, former US national security adviser Brezinski dismissed the current negotiations as "absurd" and went on to say that ďitís really ironic" since ďWe're not negotiating with Iran, but we are negotiating. Who are we negotiating with?" Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright stated the same criticism in slightly different wording. These are not spineless pacifists, in fact Mr. Brezinski and Ms.Albright were often quite hawkish on numerous subjects, but they are also experienced in the field of international politics and looking at some basic parameters of success such as the budget surplus and relative safety during their time in office, they know what they're talking about.


Above: The budget surplus during the Clinton era and huge budget deficit during the Bush era.

Of course we need to take into consideration that a solid and healthy economy/balance may not be a priority for this Administration, as far-fetched as it may sound: peace does not benefit all of us. Many assume this but it's dangerously naive to assume so. For the lucky few who have stakes in the military industrial complex (Calyle Group, Lockheed Martin, Hallliburton etc.) peace equates to losses, by analogy war equates to unimaginable profits. The influence of this so-called "military industrial complex" in the halls of government is one of the greatest and most immediate dangers to democracy and had been foreseen by so many including president Eisenhower. In his final and most inspiring speech he warned all Americans about the threats of the ever increasing power of this military-industrial complex: "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Let your voice be heard.


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Mon Aug 7, 2006 7:55 am MST by

Comment 10 to 15? I heard 5-10 years.

Fri Jun 9, 2006 12:32 pm MST by Anonymous

Comment Well, on the plus side: CIA has stated that it will take 10-15 years for Iran to build a bomb, that is if it chooses to take their program further. Lots can change in 10-15 years, maybe the regime will change and save us all the work. But still there's something about that guy I don't like much.

Sat Jun 3, 2006 3:47 am MST by Anonymous

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Wed May 31, 2006 1:13 pm MST by Eduardo Bernal

Comment Well it seems Ms. Rice finally got the message and agreed to have direct talks with the Iranians, her tone of course was once again worthless and needlessly rude, Really the neocons need to read a book on diplomacy, unfortunately not only do they lack basic diplomatic skills, they don't compensate this with superior fighting tactics, they suck at waging war, they suck at diplomacy, basically your basic nightmare, Ah well that's life.

Wed May 31, 2006 9:13 am MST by Anonymous

Comment @ ZIo, Try maintaining a certain level of decency.

Tue May 30, 2006 8:50 am MST by Anonymous

Comment If US won't invade those bastrads, we will do it ourselves and it won't be a pretty sight. You haven't seen nothing until you've seen the Israeli AF in action. So screw you, you piece of shit.

Mon May 29, 2006 2:07 pm MST by ZIo

Comment I agree more or less, the troops are spread too thinly to even consider invading Iran, so talking is probably the most sensible solution, and waving the Iranians off like that just isn't a very constructive step toward a peaceful and diplomatic solution, but on the bright side: this is not something unexpected, what we are dealing here with is not the brightest president ever, he has absolutely no experience in foreign diplomacy, the guy never even travelled outside the US until he became president. So go figure.

Mon May 29, 2006 12:55 pm MST by Anonymous

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