In the Middle East, talk is cheap and getting cheaper

There are reports that the U.S. and Iran have agreed to head-to-head talks after the election. While that may sound good, it raises many questions and doubts.

CHARLOTTEOctober 22, 2012 – Less than 48 hours before the third and final presidential debate, The New York Times released a story stating that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks following the election in November.

Since then, both the White House and Iran have denied the report.

When combined with the plethora of misinformation that continues to swirl around the 9/11 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Libya, it seems increasingly difficult to learn the truth about anything.

With the debate focusing on foreign policy and the election just two weeks away, the timing of the article in the New York Times adds both credibility and suspicion to the story. Both scenarios only further cloud an already murky picture.

If true, the negotiations could strengthen President Obama’s position in the Monday night debate by giving him another talking point to add to his Osama bin Laden legacy.

On the other hand, such a tentative agreement with Iran could backfire on the president by looking overly political in the days leading up to November 6th.

Further complicating the story is the intricate global chess game being waged on a dangerous scale involving nuclear weapons and national security.

Candidate Obama stated in a debate prior to the 2008 election that he would make every effort to negotiate with Iran. In a perfect world diplomacy and tact are the ideal means of tackling such weighty problems. Sadly, we do not live in a perfect world and candidate Obama’s words were an indication, even then, of his naïve perception of foreign affairs.

The events in Benghazi more than a month ago only reinforced that naivete as the Middle East went up in smoke.

Talk is good. Real talk. The problem is that when they aren’t blowing themselves, and innocent bystanders, up in the Middle East, the only other thing they are doing is talking. They have been talking for 1,400 years and nothing has yet been resolved.

Yassar Arafat was a great talker. He would tell us one thing in English and then say something completely different in Arabic to his followers.

Do we truly believe we can have honest negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? The truth is that all the time we are talking about talking, Iran continues to build its nuclear program.

Hillary Clinton has been talking for four years. She has logged thousands, if not millions, of miles flying from one Middle Eastern hot spot to the next and in a matter of hours the entire region was in flames.

Have we forgotten what talks with Hitler did for Neville Chamberlain?

In the Middle East, talking means negotiating a lie. They have made it an art form and perfected beyond our wildest imagination.

For the Iranian regime, capitalizing on the American election buys them a little more time. In their devious manner of thinking, they may believe such a ploy could help re-elect President Obama. Make no mistake, Mitt Romney is an unknown quantity for Iran, but they already know the weakened position of the United States under Barack Obama and that is much more to their liking.

But there is another factor to consider, if the one-on-negotiation story is true. Who is to say the agreement will not be canceled once the election is over? If there is no longer a reason for Iran to talk then why not take the idea off the table?

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was unaware of any U.S. plans to talk bilaterally with Iran. Instead Netanyahu continued to say that tougher sanctions and a “credible military option” were the best ways to peacefully halt Tehran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu knows all too well that Iran has used talks with world powers in the past as a ruse “to drag its feet and to gain time to advance its nuclear weapons program.”

To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “To talk or not to talk, that is the question.” There is plenty of talk to go around in the Middle East, and most of it is useless rhetoric and noise.

It will be interesting to watch the final debate to see whether Barack Obama and Mitt Romney want to talk about it.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at 

Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. 

Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.



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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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