I read a comment yesterday that provided another data point on the need for American leaders to take a hard look at the way they view the rest of the world. The below comment appeared in a Spiegel Online International (an English language web site out of Germany) article titled Atomic Aid from Russia: Iran Receives Nuclear Fuel in Blow to US. The article was a reprint from a New York Times article. Here is the quote that concerned me:
The Bush administration took pains not to criticize the Russian move publicly, even expressing support for outside supplies if that led Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program.
“If the Russians are willing to do that, which I support, then the Iranians do not need to learn how to enrich,” President Bush said Monday. “If the Iranians accept that uranium for a civilian nuclear power plant, then there’s no need for them to learn how to enrich.”
Think about that for a bit. Iran is a country with a long and rich history dating back thousands of years. It has been a bit participant in the world’s energy business for at least the last 70 years. Why should our president ASSUME that the ability to purchase fuel from a country like Russia negates the natural desire of Iranian engineers, scientists and BUSINESSMEN to learn everything they can about a lucrative industry that shows stong potential for substantial growth during the next 50 or more years?
Repeated examples of condescension provide some reasons why there are so many people who do not have much respect for the current direction of American foreign policy. Dissing others is not a good way to win friends and influence people.