Armitage Says Talk With Iran

Well here’s at least one semi-sane Republican voice speaking up (not that anyone needs to be a fan of Richard Armitage):

Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s first term, has urged the Bush administration to hold talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.

Mr Armitage said Washington would benefit from talking to Tehran on a range of issues, including Iran’s nuclear aspirations. The Bush administration has so far resisted calls from its European allies to engage Iran directly over its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

“It merits talking to the Iranians about the full range of our relationship… everything from energy to terrorism to weapons to Iraq,” Mr Armitage told the Financial Times in an interview. “We can be diplomatically astute enough to do it without giving anything away.”

Yes, exactly. Why not try? At worst, talks with Iran fail, and the U.S. is right back where it is now, at an impasse. So why not? The Bush administration reportedly doesn’t want to negotiate with Iran because that would amount to appeasement of an evil regime. But we already appease evil regimes. We send (innocent) terrorist suspects to Syria to be beaten with electrical cables. We give $1 billion a year to Egypt, home of “widespread and systematic” torture. Our dear friends in Saudi Arabia have 126 children on death row, among other atrocities. And let’s not get started on Dubai. You can disagree with the decision to support these countries so strongly—I certainly do—but either way, it’s not like appeasement is unprecedented for this administration. And there’s a better case for making nice when it comes to Iran, because it could be the only way to avoid a very catastrophic war. So again: why not try?