Friday, March 13, 2009

Talking Diplomacy

While most of the nation is concentrating on the economy and the unremitting stream of numbers (the Dow Jones Average, unemployment and quarterly earnings reports), occasionally some good news quietly seeps into view from another area. I admit to a sense of relief when it comes to some of the diplomatic moves the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made recently.

The latest such good news has to do with Iran. No, Iran has not backed down on the nuclear issue thanks to Sec. Clinton's efforts, but it's clear that this administration realizes that Iran is a key player in the Middle East, primarily because of the ill-advised and illegal invasion of Iraq by the prior administration. The Obama foreign policy team has obviously taken notice of that fact and have found an excellent way to begin a dialogue with that nation.

From a Boston Glove editorial:

ULTIMATELY, the nuclear issue will make or break the dialogue that President Obama wants to open with Iran. But Obama has chosen the right place to test the possibilities for US-Iranian cooperation. This was the significance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent acknowledgement that Iran is to be invited to "a big-tent meeting with all the parties who have a stake and an interest in Afghanistan."

Iran has supported anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan and is suffering greatly from the cross-border smuggling of opium grown in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan. It makes sense to begin the US-Iran dialogue where shared interests are clear and past cooperation was fruitful.
[Emphasis added]

A diplomacy which does not start and end with military power is a refreshing change and evidence that sanity has returned to US foreign policy. Finding common ground on issues and working mutually to resolve those issues gives both parties some confidence that other, thornier issues can also be handled. The nuclear issue is not going to be easily resolved, but at least now there are some grounds for hope.

At the same time, such a shift in how issues will be handled by the US has no doubt been noticed by the rest of the world. I'm sure everyone must be breathing a bit easier.

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