As to Iran, on one plain we?ve got lots of ?common ground.? They need to sell plenty of oil, and we need to buy plenty of oil.
But as Rice put it, ?It?s really hard to find common ground with a government that thinks Israel should be extinguished. It?s difficult to find common ground with a government that is supporting Hezbollah and terrorist organizations that are determined to undermine the Middle East peace that we seek.?
We won?t strengthen our position with Iran by attempting to work with its dictatorial leaders. As proof, consider the British. The U.K. maintains a policy of ?engagement? with Iran. But that policy failed last June.
Iranian forces crossed their border into Iraq and seized eight British servicemen. The men were blindfolded, paraded before television cameras and forced to apologize. The British government had to negotiate the release of eight people who were being wrongly held.
Still, the British don?t plan to change course. ?I am in no doubt at all that our policy of engagement with the government of Iran is the best approach,? Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said at the time. Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon added, ?We have also made it clear that we do not expect a recurrence of this type of incident.? But it?s difficult to understand how showing weakness in the face of Iranian aggression will prevent future attacks or pay any long-term dividends.
Americans don?t have any problem with the Iranian people. They?d probably love to live in freedom, and we?d love to see that happen. Still, at this time, they?re governed by a group of leaders who?ve spent the last 20 years chanting, ?Death to America.?
Those leaders, like the leaders of our own ?America First? movement, are on the wrong side of history. The United States is a great force for good in the world, in spite of our occasional failures. It?s a pity that today?s ?Blame America Firsters? don?t always seem to realize that.