Iran’s election of centrist Hassan Rowhani has confused the mainstream U.S. news media which was primed to reprise its favored narrative of “rigged” voting but now is going through contortions to explain the “surprise” result. Or one could read Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s book, says Dave Schneider.
With Iran’s election of Hassan Rohani as the new president, the West is confronted with the PR dilemma of not having Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to kick around anymore. But there is a route to a more constructive relationship, if Official Washington would lessen its hostility, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Four years ago, the U.S. news media pronounced Iran’s elections a fraud despite no hard evidence, and predicted a similar outcome again this year. But the election of Hassan Rouhani is now hailed as a democratic victory, a paradox addressed by Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett and Seyed Mohammad Marandi.
Every four years when Iran holds presidential elections, U.S. journalists travel to Tehran, hang out with middle-class English speakers and – when the vote tallies are in – insist that the electoral outcome must have been rigged. But that typically reflects a lack of U.S. media objectivity about Iran, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Official Washington’s ideology of “tough-guy-ism” has prevented a potential breakthrough in nuclear talks with Iran. Afraid of being called weak, President Obama has balked at accepting Iran’s right to enrich uranium even at low levels and under international supervision, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say.
In recent decades, the U.S. government and news media have treated international law as a matter of convenience and hypocrisy, applying rules self-righteously when they’re useful and ignoring them when a hindrance. The dispute over Iran’s nuclear program is a case in point, as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett explain.
With a reasonable compromise within reach on Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration pulled back, apparently fearing domestic political fallout. The result means a likely painful stalemate for the foreseeable future, as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett describe.
Venturing outside Official Washington’s conventional wisdom to apply realistic analysis to U.S. foreign policy can be dangerous to one’s reputation, especially when challenging cherished myths about a designated enemy. Then, the realist can expect to be dismissed as a loon, as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett have seen.
The most realistic route for peace in Syria is a power-sharing arrangement that protects the interests of the Sunni majority and the Alawites and other religious minorities backing President Bashar al-Assad. But President Obama has thrown in his lot with the forces pressing for Assad’s violent removal, as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett explain.
By cozying up to Israeli hardliners and embracing Official Washington’s hostility toward Iran, President Obama may be squandering an opportunity to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute and inviting a worsening crisis in the Middle East, as Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett explain.