For Obama, playing nice will pay off

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September 4, 2009

1:02 AM

The saying goes that talk is cheap; so, you would think the United States would be all about talking to other nations to save a penny here and there. This obviously has not been the case in the past. President Barack Obama promised that his administration would sit down and talk to leaders of combative nations like Iran, Cuba and North Korea. Many people criticized this decision because Obama would meet with these leaders without preconditions, but this policy has allowed for foreign policy goals to be much more easily attained.

The friendlier policy of the current administration toward these so-called unfriendly nations is a good thing, and people around the world have noticed a more open America.

The idea of sitting down and talking with Iran, a nation that has previously been deemed aggressive toward the United States — even evil — would have been completely ignored at one time.

The current administration now has a more open stance toward Iran. Prominent Iranians, like veteran filmmaker Masoud Jafari Jozani, have noticed this change in policy. Jozani attributes Obama’s willingness to communicate with Iran as the reason he was able to obtain work visas in the United States for his film crew. He is filming the first Iranian movie in the United States since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, during which the United States-backed Shah of Iran was overthrown in order to transform the state into an Islamic republic.

The United States should use this newly obtained goodwill in order to gain the release of the three Americans detained in Iran for crossing into Iran illegally from Iraq. They may have been under the assumption that former-President Bill Clinton would be available to promptly extract them, but so far, no rescue. Iran’s state-run television station has claimed that the detainees are CIA agents, but family members insist the American citizens were just hiking and were unaware of their entrance into Iran. In previous years, resolving situations diplomatically would not have been an option, but it appears as though there could be hope, given the easing of tensions between the United States and Iran.

It is not beneficial for nations to merely antagonize each other while refusing to communicate, thus creating an environment in which resolving any sort of conflict between nations is impossible. A great example of this is our old nemesis, the Soviet Union, during the Cold War. Communication between the United States and Russia rarely occured, and it was always believed that Russia could catapult us into World War III at any moment. The United States actually realized during the 1980s that Russia was not as powerful as it was thought to be because of its weak economy. The United States would have figured this out sooner if relations had been more open with Russia during the Cold War. But hey, at least our economic system didn’t collapse.

While it seemed that the former administration sought to create new Cold War-esque tensions with Iran, Obama has at least made efforts to relax those tensions — even though it remains to be seem if Obama’s olive branch will be accepted in the form of the release of American captives.

I think it will. So, in advance, thanks Obama for remembering that talk is cheap, and keep chatting it up with those evildoers and maybe something will be accomplished to make the United States a little bit safer.

E-mail Ben Arancibia at [email protected]

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