President Barack Obama shouldn't worry about his reputation, and should just sit down and talk to Iran, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young says.
America should never shy away from talking to its enemies, he told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto on Thursday
"It's always worked for us," said Young, who served under President Jimmy Carter. "You don't know what your enemies are after unless you give them a chance to tell you," he said.
The Wall Street Journal
warned Obama in a recent editorial not to fall for new President Hassan Rouhani's moderate tone.
America never stopped talking to the Russians during the Cold War, Young noted, and when Richard Nixon's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger resumed talks with China, the U.S. was able to get out of Vietnam.
"I've always felt that we've neglected Iran," Young said.
He said he warned the U.N. Security Council in his first meeting there that the Shah of Iran wasn't as stable as they thought. He gleaned the information, he said, not from U.S. intelligence, but from missionary friends serving there who told him the middle class in Iran was unhappy being shut out of power.
"I think the Iranian-American community ought to have the same kind of interaction with the Iranians in Iran" today he said. If they talk to their family and friends still in Iran that they call, let the United States know which leaders are trustworthy.
"Jimmy Carter would sit down with the devil if he thought he could move him an inch," Young said. Everyone in the State Department thought Carter was crazy when he got Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem to meet at Camp David in 1978," he said.
"But Israel and Egypt had 40 years of peace where no Israeli killed any Egyptian and no Egyptian killed any Israeli," he said.
Cavuto pointed out that Israel says it feels abandoned by the Obama administration, but Young called that "nonsense."
"Israel has always been our closest ally," he said, "and always will be."
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