Just As Nixon Went To China, Should Obama Go To Iran?
In the 34 years since its revolution, Iran has marked key gains in the Middle East and pursued a nuclear program that shows little signs of slowing, despite a barrage of Western economic sanctions. Is it time for the United States to switch course and make a Nixon-to-China move vis a vis the Islamic republic?
That provocative idea, at the center of a new book by two American experts on Iran, is raising eyebrows in Washington even as a new round of talks between world powers and Iran over Tehran’s advancing uranium-enrichment program began Tuesday.
“You could have a deal on the nuclear issue within weeks if the US accepted a certain level of safeguarded enrichment,” says Flynt Leverett, a former director for Middle East affairs in the Bush administration National Security Council (NSC) and professor of international affairs at Pennsylvania State University. But that “would basically mean accepting the Islamic republic ” as a legitimate power, he adds – something Mr. Leverett advocates.
Leverett, who with his wife, Georgetown University professor Hillary Mann Leverett, recently published “Going to Tehran,” says the US president ultimately will have to pull off something that “parallels the Nixon-Kissinger opening to China” in 1972 and “accept Iran and having an independent foreign policy.”
1. Not really a comparison there. China has 20% of the worlds population and is and was a major
force in the world.
Iran has no such place in the world with a population of 5% of what China has. There had also been years of negotiating with China, whereas there has been nearly nothing with Iran until these recent reports.