You Cannot Negotiate With Iran? – Article by Ron Paul

You Cannot Negotiate With Iran? – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
December 2, 2013
You cannot negotiate with Iran. That is what they told us for years. The Iranian leadership is too fanatical, they are not rational actors, they are “not like us.” One US official even recently said that deception is part of the Iranian DNA. But just over a week ago negotiations between the five permanent UN Security Council Members plus Germany and the Iranians produced an historic agreement that may be first step toward a new era in US relations with the Middle East.As Middle East expert Eric Margolis pointed out this week, for Iran’s major concessions it will only receive “$7 billion – of its own money, which has been frozen abroad by US-led sanctions.” That sounds like quite a bit of compromise for such a “fanatical” country.

Earlier this summer the same people made the same arguments about Syria. You cannot negotiate with Syrian President Assad, they said. He is insane; he is another Hitler. But not only was it possible, a deal was signed ending the threat of a US strike in exchange for Syria agreeing to give up its chemical weapons and the ability to manufacture new ones. Syria upheld its end of the agreement and the chemicals were all accounted for on schedule.

Why have the interventionists, the neocons, and the special interest groups claimed for so long that negotiation and diplomacy was tantamount to surrender; that countries such as Iran and Syria “only understand force”? It is because these groups are afraid of diplomacy. They do not want a peaceful resolution to these conflicts. They see US foreign relations only in the starkest terms: do what we say and we will give you aid, disobey us and we will bomb you.

Now the warmongers who call themselves “foreign policy experts” have been exposed. The whole world sees that they are wrong. Their advice is bad. Their limited vision of how foreign affairs should be conducted is actually dangerous to the United States. It is now clear that there are workable alternatives.

As with the US threats against Syria, public opinion polls on talks with Iran demonstrate that the American people are solidly behind diplomacy and opposed to another war. According to one recent poll, Americans support the deal reached with Iran by a margin of two-to-one.

Congress, however, is once again far behind the American people. Even as US negotiators were reaching agreement with their Iranian counterparts, US representatives and Senators were drafting legislation to increase sanctions on Iran. Instead of listening to the American people, many in Congress seem attached to special interests like the Israel and Saudi lobbies, which oppose anything less than full Iranian capitulation. Israel refuses to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty yet it seeks to dictate the rules of the treaty to those who have signed it. Saudi Arabia is desperate to control the region politically and economically, and it views an Iran that is free to sell oil and other products on the open market as a threat to Saudi power.

For too long both Israel and the Saudis have benefited from a US military guarantee. It has created “moral hazard” that only encourages more belligerent behavior on both of their parts. It remains to be seen whether this six month trial period will develop into a permanent move toward normalization of relations with Iran. What if Congress refuses to give Iran its own money back? But we are moving in the right direction and we should be optimistic.

A better US relationship with Iran may signal the beginning of the end of US meddling in the region and serve as an incentive for Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Gulf States to solve their problems themselves. This would be a great boost to US national security, just as an Iran open to US business and trade would be a great boost to our economic security. Is peace finally breaking out? Let’s hope so.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

2 thoughts on “You Cannot Negotiate With Iran? – Article by Ron Paul

  1. Wow! “Libertarian” Paul keeps referring to “Iran’s own money.” He’s concerned with property rights of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a theocratic, terrorist-financing dictatorship? If he were speaking of the U.S. government I suspect he’d be arguing that it had no rights at all, only powers, and most of them undeserved and unwarranted. But like all good Rockwellites he cannot turn down a chance to give a break to a dictatorship so long as it is opposed to the United States.

    Let’s be serious. No one ever suggested negotiation was impossible, but many said it was bad idea. This deal leaves Iran’s enrichment program in place, important parts of it unmonitored, and lifts sanctions. Some deal. Nothing important was gained, but now Iran is much freer to act, and Israel and Saudi Arabia understand they are on their own against Iran. The likelihood of nuclearization of the Middle East is increasing; so are the chances of war. This “deal” will be a disaster for everyone.

    I gather you posted this piece because you find it sensible. If so, I can’t understand… it defies logic.

    In general, the foreign policy positions of the Rockwellites (Ron Paul included) are crazy. I would love to hear you comment on the Rockwellites’ support for Putin, Yanukovych, et al. I can’t believe that if you were to look carefully at what these people are saying you’d remain in agreement with them. Try this and this.

  2. Dr. Steele,

    (1) Calling Ron Paul a “Rockwellite” is unfair. It is more appropriate to say that Lew Rockwell is an admirer and one-time employee of Ron Paul, though Rockwell certainly espouses some ideas which Ron Paul has never voiced in public and probably does not support. I do not endorse every statement made by Rockwell, particularly on foreign policy vis-à-vis former Soviet countries, but the present editorial by Ron Paul (who is not Rockwell) is perfectly reasonable and consistent with the facts of the matter. Ron Paul is supported by a broad constituency, and his views should not be conflated with the views of anyone and everyone who admires or supports Paul in some manner.

    (2) There is nothing anti-American about the present editorial. In fact, Ron Paul’s foreign-policy position of non-interventionism is not only a perfectly respectable (and increasingly espoused) libertarian position but also one held by many of America’s founders and espoused by Washington and Jefferson in their speeches, though not always in their actual policies. Ron Paul is not the only one expressing this view, and what he says is consistent with this article by Sheldon Richman, who could hardly be considered an associate of Rockwell: “Iran: It’s Not About Nuclear Weapons”.

    (3) How is it libertarian to support economic sanctions that crush the well-being of millions of innocent people, while empowering the regime against which the sanctions are leveled – much like the US sanctions against Cuba had allowed Fidel Castro’s regime to blame Cuba’s misery and poverty on the US and deflect the blame away from the regime itself?

    (4) On the subject of consequences of this deal, Iran has a practically negligible chance of developing viable nuclear weapons (too backward of a regime with too-backward technological capabilities), and its uranium-enrichment program was put on hold as a result of this agreement. In fact, the recent negotiations have gotten Iran farther away from having nuclear weapons than even the minuscule likelihood that existed earlier. There will be more monitoring of Iran’s uses of nuclear energy as a result of this deal, not less. If this alleviates fears in the West and buys some time for the generational change in Iran to peacefully occur, and the old theocrats to die off, then it will be very beneficial for peace in the long run.

    (5) You stated that this deal would increase the chances of war. But how would the alternative, endless saber-rattling by all sides and the refusal to acknowledge any other side as capable of holding a conversation, be anything but a prelude to war, foreclosing on any other options to begin with? The only way to avoid turning Iran into another Afghanistan or Iraq is to wait for the theocrats to die off and the much more Westernized younger generations to replace them in power. In the meantime, whatever defuses tensions and prevents innocent civilian deaths is best. If Iran is ever attacked by the West, and civilians of the younger generations perish from American bombs, then the people of Iran will become radicalized against the US forever.

    To conclude, I invite you to read my recent article, “War in the Middle East is Inherently Collectivist”, which will give you an overview of my broader reasoning on foreign policy and the motivation for my support for Ron Paul’s position as the logical extrapolation of methodological and ethical individualism.

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