As the international community faces a decision on Iran, it is up to America and its leaders to lead the effort against the enemies of freedom and peace. While the decisions we will have to make will no doubt be difficult ones, they are decisions that must be made. They are decisions that will require courage and honesty about the nature of the world we live in. Talk of working â€œmore closelyâ€? with Iran or Syria is not only naÃ¯ve; it is a demonstration of weakness.
The fact is that the invasion of Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq knocked off two of Iranâ€™s deadliest regional enemies, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Iran has amassed great power inside Iraq, not by supporting the insurgents, as President Bush claims, but simply by using its Shiite allies to gain power in Baghdad. Iran is building its influence in Lebanon, too, and among the Shiite population in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Bush administration seems incapable of understanding the need to engage with Iran, to seek their help in Iraq, and to search for an accommodation with the ayatollahs. Ironically, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad of the United States in Iraq has been given permission to talk to Iran about calming tensions in Iraq, but according to the latest statements from U.S. embassy he has not yet done so.