All the rage these days is that Iran could be the next Iraq. We continually hear frightening stories about their nuclear arms build up, their potentially dangerous leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, their freedom-less (read un-democratic) society, and their support against American soldiers and officials in Iraq. We often hear American leaders declare them dangerous, and potentially disastrous if they develop a nuclear bomb. And regardless of the evidence - and rightfully so - we are always wary of Middle Eastern countries that refuse to work with the United Nations Security Council and consistently isolate themselves from the international community. So it’s easy to wonder and interesting to argue if Iran could be the second country attacked under
Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, plays an absolutely crucial role in the stability of the Middle East. Because of its prime central location in Eurasia, six thousand years of history, large supply of petroleum, vast amount of territory, and 70 million plus residents, Iran wields an ungodly amount of influence in the region. The world would be rocked (perhaps literally) if Iran goes from lonely boy to raging bully. And most experts fear that without intervention from the international community, this Islamic republic is headed down that path.
Thomas Friedman, the bestselling author and popular columnist at the New York Times, recently suggested that Iran and the United States should become “strange bedfellows.” Friedman argues – and I wholeheartedly agree – that if Saudi Arabia can be an ally, then so can Iran. Friedman went on to say – and I wholeheartedly agree again – that the first order of business is to initiate negotiations, despite Iran continuing their nuclear program.
Negotiations with Iran will serve several purposes. First and foremost, it will prevent any chance of war; and a war with Iran is the last thing the US needs right now. And second, it will reduce the isolationist attitude that Iran has grown fond of. Reducing their isolation will bring about several positive changes, including better weapons monitoring, controlled nuclear proliferation, stable(r) oil rates, and less animosity towards the US and the international community. And heck, even if the immediate affects of negotiations yields none of these potential positives, at least we are communicating with them. If we learned anything from the Cold War, it’s that talking with our enemy is the best bet to avoid conflict.