It’d be dumb to just take the Iranian government at its word, but there’s no denying that they’re trying to open a discussion and, frankly, it would be insane of us not to give this path a shot. Bush’s view that talking to “evil” regimes is bad because it legitimizes them is silly and it’s going to be completely impossible for us to get any international support for anything at all if we’re seen as ignoring diplomatic initiatives. What’s more, it’s at least possible that direct talks could lead to a satisfactory resolution of the situation.
Well, okay… maybe … But suppose Ahmadinejad actually means what he says about the eradication of Israel and the decline of Western Civilization (not to mention that, to me, psychotic blather about 12th Imams and so forth). Suppose too that this man is not just some minor figurehead for some sinister mullahs (bad enough) but a genuine potential Hitler with (soon enough to be sure) nuclear weapons and an army of believers behind him that could easily dwarf Der Fuhrer’s in numbers and fervency. And finally suppose that the letter he just sent was really intended to rally those same believers (not an unlikely possibility). Then this decision to talk is not so easy, is it?
No, we are in a complex and rather frightening situation with no simple answers. I think too it is long past such minor league questions as Dems vs. Repubs, liberals versus conservatives, under which Matthew seems to categorize this. (I could be wrong – haven’t talked with him about it.) Of course, that’s my hobby-horse, but in this case I submit that it applies. We are at a critical moment.