Well, is it that hard to believe in this day and age that a major American newspaper offers up an op-ed filled with praise for Iran? This would be today's Boston Globe in an op-ed written by Lawrence Korb and Laura Conley, both of whom work for the liberal minded Center for American Progress.
By the way, the fact that Korb has been identified as a key foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama is completely unmentioned - a major journalistic lapse but not a surprising one by the New York Times-owned Boston Globe.
Korb and Conley look upon Iranian efforts to help topple the Taliban as proof of the potential for Iran to work with America in bringing about some sort of Pax Persia in the region. This is a fallacy. Iran opposed the Taliban because the Taliban - a Sunni extremist group - hated the Shiite Persians that were on its border and hated the Shiites within Afghanistan. The Taliban murdered Iranian regime officials. The downfall of the Taliban was in the interest of the regime and their help when America sought to oust the Taliban was based strictly on self-interest. In the diplomatic realm, nations don't have permanent friends, they have permanent interests. The interests of the Iranian regime is regional hegemony and the acquisition of nuclear bombs.
Korb and Conley blame Bush for failure to reach out to the Iranians. This argument falls flat. In fact, various Bush officials have sought to reach out to the regime (as even the op-ed mentions in passing) but have been rebuffed - as have a long line of other Presidents who have tried to establish relations with the Iranians. This is a fact that the op-ed ignores.
The op-ed also seems to blame Bush for the progress of the Iranian nuclear program. This is absurd. The program did not start under Bush (and was actually temporarily put on hold in the wake of our invasion of Iraq) but had its origins going back to the 1980s. The program has progressed apace - under Democratic and Republican Presidents. We have sought, along with the United Nations and our European allies, to work with the Iranians to curb their nuclear program in return for various "carrots" offered to them. The result? Rebuff after rebuff, as the centrifuges spin away.
What is especially striking in this op-ed is the complete silence regarding the nature of the Iranian regime. One would hope that a foreign policy expert close to Barack Obama would at least recognize how important it is to consider the nature of a regime when advocating diplomatic outreach. Where is the recognition that the regime is -and has long been-designated as the number one terror-sponsoring nation in the world (as Bill Clinton so designated Iran)? Where is the recognition that Iran has been helping kill Americans in Iraq and has done so in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, or the awareness that Iranian proxies have killed innocent Argentineans, Lebanese, Israelis and for that matter Iranians (a regime that hangs children and gays and brutalizes women wins praise from Korb and Conley?).
That little matter of denying the Holocaust while openly boasting of plans to bring about another one? The theological and apocalyptic musings of its leaders (not just President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), the talk of halos and apocalypse spoken by Ahmadinejad from the podium of the United Nations to bring about the return of the missing Imam? Sheer piffle, not worth mentioning.
We will see more of these efforts to burnish Iran in the days ahead. The Iran lobby is stepping up efforts in Washington. The Persian red carpet is being rolled out.
Welcome to the future of our foreign relations under Barack Obama. Much like his campaign, it involves dreams and fantasy.