Why talks don’t always work

The other day I did a lengthy post explaining (to my own satisfaction) why there is nothing “McCarthyite” about the fact that American Jews assume that those who support Palestinians are not just supporting peace, but are in fact hostile to Israel or anti-Semitic — or both. This is because, I said, the relationship between Israel and her neighbors is not an ordinary neighborly dispute about borders or water rights or trade. Instead, it is a zero sum game, with the zero sum being the fact that Israel’s neighbors desire only her extinction, and nothing else. All other talks are shams, aimed at incrementally leading towards the ultimate goal of Israel’s destruction.

Amir Taheri understands that precisely the same existential problem plays out with any efforts to engage in “peace” talks with Iran:

The reason is that Iran is gripped by a typical crisis of identity that afflicts most nations that pass through a revolutionary experience. The Islamic Republic does not know how to behave: as a nation-state, or as the embodiment of a revolution with universal messianic pretensions. Is it a country or a cause?

A nation-state wants concrete things such as demarcated borders, markets, access to natural resources, security, influence, and, of course, stability – all things that could be negotiated with other nation-states. A revolution, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything in particular because it wants everything.

In 1802, when Bonaparte embarked on his campaign of world conquest, the threat did not come from France as a nation-state but from the French Revolution in its Napoleonic reincarnation. In 1933, it was Germany as a cause, the Nazi cause, that threatened the world. Under communism, the Soviet Union was a cause and thus a threat. Having ceased to be a cause and re-emerged a nation-state, Russia no longer poses an existential threat to others.

The problem that the world, including the U.S., has today is not with Iran as a nation-state but with the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary cause bent on world conquest under the guidance of the “Hidden Imam.” The following statement by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the “Supreme leader” of the Islamic Republic – who Mr. Obama admits has ultimate power in Iran — exposes the futility of the very talks Mr. Obama proposes: “You have nothing to say to us. We object. We do not agree to a relationship with you! We are not prepared to establish relations with powerful world devourers like you! The Iranian nation has no need of the United States, nor is the Iranian nation afraid of the United States. We . . . do not accept your behavior, your oppression and intervention in various parts of the world.”

Bottom line:  You cannot negotiate with an ideology.  Whether that ideology is Israel’s destruction or Islam’s world ascendancy, there is nowhere to go with discussion.  Details are irrelevant.  The Revolution drives the train and it’s not stopping for minor details such as peaceful coexistence.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    How does one negotiate with an ideology committed to your destruction?

    Does one open the negotiations by offering “them” the opportunity to destroy only half of you…and in exchange for what, exactly?

  • David Foster

    Paul Reynaud, who became Prime Minister of France just prior to the German invasion of 1940:

    “People think Hitler is like Kaiser Wilhelm. The old gentleman only wanted to take Alsace-Lorraine from us. But Hitler is Genghis Khan.” (approximate quote)