The New York Times headline surprised me, drew me in: How to Press the Advantage With Iran
It was an op-ed piece written by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Everett, respectively the “director of the Iran project at the New America Foundation and a professor of international affairs at Pennsylvania State University” and “the president of a political risk consultancy.” The pair are also former National Security Council staffers.
The New America Foundation is notable for having postulated (controversially) that the 2009 Iranian presidential election might not have been fraudulent. Having jointly authored an article for Politico entitled, “Ahmadinejad won. Get over it,” the Leveretts appear to concur.
But it was the headline I found compelling: Press what advantage, exactly? And to what end?
I had to know.
Sadly, in an essay running a little over 1500 words, “advantage” appears only once, in the title. The rest is an apology for the Iranian regime’s point of view and a paean to lost opportunities. If only George Bush had extended the olive branch to Iran while it was shipping explosively formed penetrators to Shiite militiamen, perhaps this whole Uranium enrichment thing could have been avoided. And all those missiles.
But surely, in all those ink-stained tears, the pair has a recommendation?
Absolutely they do – roll over:
Instead of pushing the falsehood that sanctions will give America leverage in Iranian decision-making — a strategy that will end either in frustration or war — the administration should seek a strategic realignment with Iran as thoroughgoing as that effected by Nixon with China. This would require Washington to take steps, up front, to assure Tehran that rapprochement would serve Iran’s strategic needs.
We should formulate a strategic alliance with a regime that is the world’s principal state sponsor of terrorism, that continues to not merely support terror groups in Lebanon and Gaza but which terrorizes its own citizens, whose acts have caused the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of US servicemen and – by prolonging and supporting the carnage in Iraq – untold thousands of Iraqis. Whose “strategic needs” include the destruction of a UN member state and US ally.
Because apparently the only way to fight terrorism is to reward it.
Thank you, I’ll have none.