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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-05-07 06:05 AM
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The Iranian Challenge by Trita Parsi
an excellent article by a leading Iranian-American scholar -- An absolute must read. I strongly recommend reading the entire article in full:

"Trita Parsi, author of the newly released Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. (Yale), is president of the National Iranian American Council."

The Iranian Challenge by Trita Parsi

link to full article:

"EDITOR'S NOTE: The National Intelligence Estimate released December 3 reports Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003, pulling the US back from the Bush Administration's plans for war. In an essay published November 19, Trita Parsi outlined the steps toward a sane relationship between the US and Iran. "

snip:"The ill-informed foreign policy debate on Iran contributes to a paradigm of enmity between the United States and Iran, which limits the foreign policy options of future US administrations to various forms of confrontation while excluding more constructive approaches. These policies of collision are in no small part born of the erroneous assumptions we adopted about Iran back in the days when we could afford to ignore that country. But as America sinks deeper into the Iraqi quicksand, remaining in the dark about the realities of Iran and the actual policies of its decision-makers is no longer an option.

A successful policy on Iran must begin by reassessing some basic assumptions:

1. Iran is ripe for regime change.

Not true. Although the ruling clergy in Iran are very unpopular, they are not going anywhere anytime soon. "

snip:"2. Iran is irrational and cannot be deterred.

Not true. Iran's foreign policy behavior is highly problematic for the United States, but a careful study of Iran's actions--not just its rhetoric--reveals systematic, pragmatic and cautious maneuvering toward a set goal: decontainment and the re-emergence of Iran as a pre-eminent power in the Middle East. Iran often conceals its real objectives behind layers of ideological rhetoric, with the aim of confusing potential enemies and making its policies more attractive to the Muslim nations it seeks to lead. At times it even simulates irrationality as an instrument of deterrence, the calculation being that enemies will be more reluctant to attack Iran if Tehran's response can't be predicted and won't follow a straight cost-benefit analysis."

3. Iran is inherently anti-American.

Not quite. To Iran anti-Americanism is a means, not an end. Iran believes that its size and power position it to play a major role in regional affairs. This aspiration, however, clashes with America's aim of isolating and containing Iran. As long as public opinion in the Middle East remains largely critical of the United States, and as long as Washington continues to seek a regional order based on excluding Iran, Iran will likely play on anti-Americanism to make Washington's policy of exclusion as costly as possible and to rally existing anti-American sentiment around Iranian objectives. But if the strategic environment in the region changes--with a different relationship between Tehran and Washington as a result--the utility of anti-Americanism will fade away.

7. Stability in the Middle East can be achieved only through Iran's isolation. Quite the contrary. History teaches us that an Iran that isn't part of the region's security architecture will be more destabilizing than an Iran that has been incorporated into the region's political order. "

snip:"Creating a new regional order, in which the carrot of Iranian inclusion is used to secure radically different behavior from Tehran, is neither a concession to Iran nor a capitulation of American (or Israeli) interests. Rather, it is a recognition that stability in the region cannot be achieved and sustained through the current strategy of pursuing an order based on the exclusion of one of the region's most powerful nations. To change Iran's behavior, we must change our own."

link to full article:

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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-05-07 08:00 AM
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1. The opposition to Iran is based on the notion that disobedient satrapies
must be punished. I know, I know, it's stupid, but that is how our foreign policy "elites" think about these things. It's the same thing with a number of other countries that "hate the US".

The thing about Iran is that a.) the Persians have cleaned our clock time and again, and b.) we have lost the potential benefits - which were there for the taking - of a closer relationship with Iran. The potential benefits are staggering when you think it over.

In other words, out foreign policy wonks are petulant losers. If you survey the field of US foreign policy efforts since WWII, or even further back, one sees little but petulant losers being petulant, making violent messes, and losing ground. And it is always someone else's fault.
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