Wise advice:

If the presidential candidates and their advisers took seriously their rhetoric about the value of experience, they would heed what five former secretaries of state said last week about US policy toward Iran. During a forum at George Washington University, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, and Colin Powell all agreed that the US should open high-level talks with Iran.

The main goal of such a dialogue would be to find out if that regime is willing, for the right price, to stop pursuing nuclear weapons. “We should start to talk to them and not wait till later,” said Powell. “What are we afraid of?” Kissinger said he is “in favour of negotiating with Iran” to reduce the chances that a nuclear device might end up in hands of terrorists. Kissinger also made the obvious but sage point that US should make its strategic objectives clear.

Baker suggested that a dialogue with Iranian officials could enable them to understand that America’s nuclear arsenal would target them if they developed nuclear weapons. Said Baker: “They would understand that, I think.”

John McCain has been saying that Barack Obama is being naive when he calls for talks with Iran. But McCain and President Bush are the ones who are disregarding the worldly experience of America’s most seasoned statesmen. — The Boston Globe