Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador, said that as president he would use his diplomatic experience to engage Muslim clerics, students, university professors and business leaders in Iran. He would leave Iranian President Ahmadinejad out of the loop, calling him "a minor player" in that nation's politics. "Forty percent of the vote in Iran in that last presidential election went to a moderate candidate," he said. "And I do believe that it makes sense to engage in a dialogue with Iran, knowing that it's going to be very difficult."Forty percent? That's more than halfway to being more than half of the population! Sweet. Almost half of the Iranian population don't support the guy trying to start an apocalyptic war and thereby bring about the end of the world. If that's not a population ripe for engagement, we simply don't know what is. As war looms over the entire Middle East, it's worth revisiting this diplomatic gem from a few months ago:
Dismissing claims that Hizbullah has returned to its former strength in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview on Thursday that the guerrilla group was practically non-existent south of the Litani River and that if the peacekeeping mission continued, the threat of war would be completely removed within three years.There's never a threat that justifies American or Israeli concerns. Hezbollah? Israeli concerns about how they've rearmed are just excuses to criticize UNIFIL - except for those Katyushas that hit Israel two days later. Opps. Hamas? Israeli concerns about their growing strength are just excuses not to give Abbas security concessions - except for how Hamas rolled over the Gaza Strip right afterwards.
Ahmadinejad? He's powerless. And if he's not powerless, then he's being mistranslated by evil neocons. It's like the Simpsons joke about USA Today: nothing to worry about, everything is OK. And if diplomats are wrong and a concession really does end up costing thousands of Israeli lives - eh, at least they meant well. That's the great thing about being a left of center foreign policy expert - no one remembers how often you're wildly wrong.
[Cross-posted to Mere Rhetoric]