When it comes to the issue of foreign policy and international relations, the controversy over whether the United States should have diplomatic relations and embassies in nations that are our rivals, our opponents, is a constant debating point.
Clearly, when the United States is at war with a foreign government, diplomatic relations cease.
Also, if a foreign government chooses to break off diplomatic relations on its own, then clearly there will be no diplomatic relations.
But other than these situations, the idea that, somehow, refusing to deal with an unfriendly government is beneficial does not ring true!
There are always good reasons to have a diplomatic channel, a way to relate to and deal with a hostile foreign government, if for no other reason, to allow discussion of contentious issues that may arise, including hostages, military and naval challenges, and providing for humanitarian interventions when there are natural disasters.
After all, even if governments do not get along, the people of the United States need not see other nations’ people as enemies!
And failure to recognize changes of government never works in our behalf, as witness our long diplomatic isolation of the Soviet Union from 1917-1933; of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1979 (although Richard Nixon visited China in 1972 and started trade, cultural and tourism contacts); of Vietnam (from 1975 when the Vietnam War finally ended until 1995); and now of Cuba from 1961 to this month.
It turns out the diplomatic isolation of Cuba lasted 54 years, way beyond the 16 years of the Soviet Union; the 30 years of China; and the 20 years of Vietnam.
Nothing was accomplished by the diplomatic isolation of Cuba, and while the government of that nation is a dictatorship, as with Russia, China, and Vietnam, we cannot decide that a dictatorship, as reprehensible as it is, can be, somehow, made to change by ignoring them and refusing to deal with them.
If we were to use that as a guide, that a nation was run as a dictatorship and therefore we would not deal with that nation, then we would have to suspend diplomatic relations with most of the world’s 193 nations.
But we have dealt with brutal dictatorships regularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as Eastern Europe.
We could wish the world was like us; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; and Western European nations; Japan; and selected nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, but we must deal with the world as it is, not the way we wish it was!
So, the issue of Iran, a hostile nation engaged in trouble making in the Middle East; calling for the extermination of Israel; calling the United States “the devil”; and gaining nuclear energy information rapidly, cannot be ignored.
It is better to deal with Iran, as much as they are willing, as the people of the nation are clearly not in support of their theocratic Islamic regime, and we are not going to gain by a war with Iran, a large nation with large population, which, if we went to war, the effect would be to unite the nation in nationalistic fervor to defend the homeland.
The answer is, if possible, not only to get the nuclear deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry to be ratified, but also to attempt to ameliorate the danger and threat of Iran through further diplomatic engagement!