- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

This year, we have witnessed President Obama employ the centerpiece of his foreign policy by initiating, without preconditions, talks with Iran. However, adversarial countries, unconstrained by Western proprieties, invest traditional diplomacy with principles of treachery and violence.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s latest announcement shows his reaction after seeing Mr. Obama’s open negotiations descend into submissive posturing (“Iran vows 10 new uranium plants,” Page 1, Nov. 30). Mr. Obama had already demonstrated submissiveness with his lack of support for demonstrators after the rigged elections in Iran.

To be effective, diplomacy against emerging opponents must be methodical, covert, multifaceted and predictably lethal. Talks, conferences and economic measures serve as war without bloodshed; war serves as diplomacy with bloodshed. Intelligence, propaganda and espionage invigorate all options. Opponents frustrate plans, break alliances, isolate governments and sow internal dissension among government branches.

Unless they are offered compelling enticements or confronted with unanswerable force, an opponent’s best strategy against the United States remains endless mendacity and violence, while we debate national interests into ever-narrower parameters. The last National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear capabilities provoked such self-destructive debate, drawing Persian Gulf countries closer to Iran. The Iranian government’s latest announcement about nuclear-fuel enrichment likewise moves Persian Gulf countries closer to Iran.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.

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