Nov 22, 2006

Engaging Iran and Syria

One day a scorpion was on the bank of the river, wanting to get across to the other side. But of course scorpions can't swim. Luckily it spotted an frog that was about to swim across the river.

'Please, frog,' said the scorpion, 'I need to get across the river, but I can't swim - let me ride on your back.'

'What sort of a fool do you take me for?' said the frog. 'If I let you near me you'll sting me to death.'

'Of course I won't,' said the scorpion. 'I'm trying to get across the river. What possible good would it do me to sting you? I'd drown!'

The frog thought it over, and could see the logic of the scorpion's argument. So he let the scorpion jump onto his back, and set off swimming across. But half-way across, where the river was at its deepest, the frog felt the scorpion's sting. As both animals began to drown, the scorpion explained: 'I'm a scorpion - I couldn't help myself. It's in my nature.'

That's about how I feel about talks with Iran and Syria--especially in light of yesterday's assassination in Lebanon. The Wall Street Journal is similarly unenthused. These guys say the US should unite with Europe and friendly Arab nations and get tough "spelling out the rewards for being part of the solution but also credible penalties for remaining part of the problem."

When did our European allies et al commit to imposing credible penalties against outlaw nations? When they turned a blind eye to the Oil-for-Food scandal? When they refused to hold Saddam to account for throwing out UN weapons inspectors? How about when they decided to send troops into Lebanon this year, but refused to disarm Hezbollah.

Iran and Syria aren't the only scorpions in this fable.

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