In one corner are those who believe, against all historical experience, that appeasement of despots will work this time. Hence, their support of efforts by the so-called “EU-3” – Britain, France and Germany – to present a sufficiently attractive package of concessions to the Iranian mullahocracy to induce it to give up at least some of its program for developing nuclear weapons. The UN’s Kofi Annan and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Mohamed ElBaradei champion this approach. So does the State Department bureaucracy, currently led by the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns.
Unfortunately, the record of recent efforts to appease Iran has been no more encouraging than were earlier efforts to divert other totalitarians from their chosen paths. To the contrary, Iranian officials have gleefully observed that they are indebted to the Europeans and their supporters for “buying time” for the regime in Tehran, allowing it to bring its so-called “nuclear power” program to fruition. Some are becoming ever-more- brazen in confirming that energy-generation is not the object of the exercise; rather, it is to obtain the Bomb.
Now, Nick Burns and Company are evidently supporting the international appeasers’ demand that the United States “engage” directly with the Iranians. The argument is that, only by so doing, can the Bush Administration demonstrate that it has left no stone unturned in trying to avoid a showdown, including possibly military action against Iran.
Those in the opposing corner, believed to include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush, himself, are under no illusion about the consequences of such a step. It will not buy the United States any credit from its critics. Instead, it will embroil this country in talks whose sole purpose is to hamstring those who are threatened by the Iranian Islamofascists’ support for international terror and pursuit of nuclear weapons – if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to be believed, for apocalyptic purposes.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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