Why the U.S. should stay away.
by Victor Davis Hanson
The following counter-opinion piece appeared in the March 1st issue of USA Today.
America should attend regional talks that may include Syria and Iran, in support of stabilizing the democracy in Iraq.
But the United States should not negotiate directly with these terrorist states until they cooperate with ongoing United Nations investigations and cease trying to destroy neighboring democracies.
Syria has engaged in serial assassination in Lebanon to overturn that constitutional government. It blocks U.N. inquiries into the murders of prominent Lebanese. And Syrian money and agents foment unrest in democratic Iraq, even as they seek to aid Hamas in attacking democratic Israel.
Iranian theocracy violates international non-proliferation accords. Its president has promised to wipe Israel off the map. In chilling fashion, Iran has hosted an international conference to deny the Holocaust, as if proof were needed that its threats derive from an existential hatred of the Jewish state.
Like Syria, Iran wants to end the democratic experiment in Iraq. Iranian money, weapons and expertise are used by terrorists to kill Americans in Iraq and, through Hamas, to disrupt Palestinian peace efforts. Hezbollah, a group also backed by Iran and Syria, seeks to destabilize Lebanese democracy and restart a border war with Israel.
Such aggression is not symptomatic, as is often asserted, of confident regimes on the rise. Iranian oil production is declining. Billions in food and fuel subsidies are proving unsustainable, and scarce funds are siphoned off to foreign terrorists and nuclear proliferation. Beset by unsound economies and rising domestic unpopularity, the Iranian theocracy and Syrian dictatorship have become pariahs at odds with European diplomats, other Arab states and the United Nations.
Only the continued American policy of ostracizing Iran and Syria, galvanizing the international community to enforce U.N. compliance, supporting Iranian and Syrian reformers, and keeping a high-profile military presence in the area offers any hope that either nation will cease their subversion.
We need to keep the pressure up — without bombing, without bombast and without talking directly with these rogue and increasingly desperate states that have caused themselves and the world so much trouble.
©2007 Victor Davis Hanson