Back in the 1980s, the countries of Iraq and Iran were locked in an eight-year battle that saw millions die but no clear resolution or victor. Sensing an opportunity to bleed two countries with hostile intentions while securing some vital national interests, President Reagan’s administration embarked on an audacious plan. To Iraq the US supplied intelligence information while dealings with Iran were far more complex. To Iran went military parts for things like F-14s; in return Iran would talk with its cats-paws to release American hostages while the money from the military sales went to support freedom fighters in Nicaragua.
Now we have President Obama’s administration dealing with Iraq and Iran again. As the Iranian government kills protestors and openly scorns all attempts at rapprochement from the US, our current administration still keeps offering olive branches. One was the release of the ringleader of the Karbala attack that saw American soldiers captured and executed. In return, several bodies of British hostages were dumped at the British compound in Baghdad. This effort was supposed to bring the terror group that carried out the Karbala attack back into the fold in Iraq, reconciliation was the word used. Since that overture failed, Obama has tried the same approach again. This time the US released men Iran claimed were diplomats. These were diplomats who were caught inside Iraq with terrorists. Some diplomats, but now they are back in Iran. No word yet on how Iran will reply, but history suggests the mullahs are laughing up their sleeves while calculating how to make Obama and the US look even more pathetic.
When it comes to operating in the rarified realm of pragmatic politics or realpolitk, I would have to say President Reagan did a far better job. He kept two enemies of the US weak, secured the freedom of US citizens, and helped fight the spread of communism in Central America. President Obama so far only has the bodies of British citizens to show for his efforts to engage the dictatorship of Iran.