Tony Blankley

Last week, Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Russia would not support any intensification of sanctions on Iran. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin added for emphasis that Moscow has "no grounds to doubt" Iran's claim that its nuclear program is purely peaceful and that "any use of force, delivering any kind of strike, won't help, won't solve the problem. On the contrary, it will hurt the entire region. As for sanctions, they won't bring the desired effect."

Finally, after Washington accepted that offer of face-to-face negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and after Mottaki raised expectations of nuclear discussion, Ahmadinejad then asserted (via a conversation with a British diplomat) that "from the Iranian nation's viewpoint, the nuclear case is closed." He went on to say, "Having peaceful nuclear technology is Iran's lawful and definite right, and Iranians will not negotiate with anyone over their undeniable rights."

U.S. officials gamely said that expectations of a breakthrough were "extremely low" but that Washington was ready to test whether Iran was genuinely interested in dialogue. It added, "If Iran is willing to enter into serious negotiations, then they will find a willing participant in the U.S. and the other countries."

So for eight months, the administration has reiterated its ultimatum that either Iran must agree to direct talks on its nuclear program by Sept. 30 or we will get economic sanctions from the U.N. -- during which eight months we have been dangling before Russia offers of rescission of our anti-missile commitments to Poland and the Czech Republic in exchange for Russian cooperation with sanctions (and general nuclear disarmament).

Then last week, in perhaps coordinated succession, Russia refused to support sanctions; Iran offered to talk maybe about nukes; we accepted talks; Iran then refused to talk nuclear issues; and we nonetheless continue to agree to talk under whatever terms are offered by the fraudulently re-elected murderer of his own people and aspiring Jewish genocidist, Ahmadinejad. For the greatest nation on earth to accept such impertinent treatment by so vile a despot is a profound lesson in humility.

But North Korean developments last week showed that the administration's Iranian policy is no fluke. The North Koreans have long wanted direct talks with the U.S. on the wide-ranging subject of their nuclear ambitions. Until last week, the U.S. long insisted that it would speak directly to North Korea only if that nation already had agreed to rejoin the six-party talks, and then any one-on-one contact would be limited to pushing Pyongyang back into multilateral negotiations over its atomic projects.

But last week, first Pyongyang declared that it is close to being able to enrich uranium, a development that would give North Korea a potential second means of building nuclear weapons. Then, no longer surprisingly, a State Department spokesman announced we would abandon the six-party-first requirement and meet one-on-one with Pyongyang negotiators. "We are prepared for a bilateral talk, if that will help advance the six-party process," he said.

Since our founding, the United States has protected its sovereignty and national interests through the practice of a proud and defiant diplomacy (backed up by ample martial capacity) -- admittedly at the price of fairly constant warfare. Now we are entering a new and great experiment: practicing diplomacy with a humility almost worthy of the Prince of Peace. We shall see whether such methods work in this world.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

©Creators Syndicate