While the President of Iran congratulated Obama on his win, the speaker of Iran’s parliament has criticized Obama for his position on Iran’s nuclear program. Like Bush and McCain, Obama takes the view that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons is unacceptable.
While some on the right would like to paint Obama as soft, weak, and ready to cozy up with America’s enemies, this does not seem to be the case. Obama has shown a willingness to use diplomacy and conversation and some see this as a sign of weakness. Presumably some think that strength is shown by resorting to force without seriously attempting a peaceful solution. While there is a certain satisification in the gunslinger approach to the world’s problems, this seems to be a morally questionable approach. The use of force leads to death and destruction. Further, it is generally not the most effective solution. To solve a problem effectively without violence is the better approach-as Sun Tzu argued centuries ago. If talking with foreign leaders achieves our national ends without the shedding of blood and treasure, so much the better. Of course, there are times when talking fails and force must be employed. One who refuses to ever use force is as foolish as one who sees it as his only option. I don’t think Obama is a fool-but he has yet to be truly tested.
In regards to Iran, Obama will probably attempt to improve our diplomatic relations and work on achieving our national ends in this manner. However, Obama has made it clear that he will not accept a nuclear armed Iran. Whether he will be willing to fire missiles into Tehran is a question that remains unanswered. I suspect Iran will try to test Obama’s will. I think they will not find it lacking, nor the will of the American people.
However, I do hope that we can work out a peaceful agreement and ratchet down the tensions. While Iran has strong theocratic elements and has been involved in terrorism, the Iranian leaders and people seem genuinely interested in better relations with the United States. I think we can find common ground with the Iranians and work from there. Of course, we cannot be naive about things.