It will be interesting how quickly President Obama will be castigated, especially by the Neocon Nitwit Talk Radio wing of the War Party, for the sin of talking–yes, talking–to Iran.
What is significant is what Obama does NOT do. He does not launch into a tirade about Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program. He does not launch into a tirade against Iran’s Islamic form of government. He does not launch into a tirade against Iran’s mistreatment of religious minorities or women. He just wishes them a happy Nowruz.
Now, as a libertarian, I have many disagreements with Obama. His approach to the economy will certainly result in long-range problems, if not an outright disastrous collapse. However, his approach to foreign policy, after eight years of constant warmongering, ginned-up accusations, and outright lies, is refreshing, to say the least.
Of course, this is not to say we should not be wary. Obama has taken a lot of Israel-first, warmongering loons into his foreign policy team; he probably had to in some sort of compromise to pull his campaign and his government together. And certainly, the man is a politician, which means he will likely change sides if it is politically convenient to do so. But the fact that he is willing to talk to the Iranians, saying lots of nice things about their culture, and urging talk and a meeting of the minds, is quite significant.
Obama had it right during the campaign when he said, off-the-cuff, that Iran is a tiny country with a tiny economy that is no threat to the US whatsoever. Iran’s economy is about the same, in terms of GDP, as that other mighty foe of the US: Denmark.
No one has ever–repeat, ever–come up with any solid evidence whatsoever that Iran intends to build a nuclear weapon. Iran is a signatory to the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), which gives it an absolute right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Enriching uranium for the purposes of nuclear power, versus enriching for weapons, are two very different processes. Weapons grade uranium is typically enriched to ninety percent U-235, versus well under five percent for most reactor grade uranium.
And even if Iran intended to build a nuclear weapon, it has no means of delivering them more than a few hundred miles, at most.
So why has the US government, through both Republican and Democratic regimes, ginned up such ridiculous accusations against such an insignificant third world country? Because the Iranian people dared to stand up to our own Satrap, the CIA-installed Shah of Iran, and kick him out.
Obama’s brief video is a very welcome first step. We can only hope he can hold back the predictable tide of indignation that will come against him for daring to suggest we can talk through our differences, rather than just rain bombs on our imaginary enemies.