Even as the Obama administration inches toward a compromise with Iran over its nuclear program, U.S. officials keep up the tough talk to appease Official Washington’s hardliners. But wishful thinking about Iran’s vulnerabilities could raise the risk of conflict, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Despite the Iraq debacle, neocons remain in the driver’s seat setting official U.S. attitudes toward Iran, mixing worst-case assumptions with unrelenting hostility. But national security experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett have stood up to this neocon-driven conventional wisdom, says Gareth Porter at Inter Press Service.
As the U.S. and other world powers resume talks with Iran on its nuclear program, key questions relate to U.S.-sponsored sanctions, how effective they’ve been and when they might be eased. But there’s also doubt they can be sustained, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
President Obama has indicated that he wants a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, especially limiting its nuclear program, but he has hesitated taking the kind of positive steps that President Nixon did in his opening to China more than four decades ago, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett observe.
A key residual power of Washington’s neocons is their access to think-tank journals and influential op-ed pages to “controversialize” American analysts and writers who deviate from foreign policy orthodoxy. At such moments, history and honesty are cast aside for ideology and expediency, Nima Shirazi notes.
America’s “tough-guy-ism” plays well at home, with politicians competing to see whose bluster is the most belligerent, but works less well with the targeted countries whose leaders have their own imperatives of politics and pride. President Obama is risking failure in Iran nuclear talks if he ignores this reality, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
Official Washington can’t get over its addiction to tough-guy-ism, especially as it relates to confrontations in the Middle East. Now, President Obama’s timidity about taking on that challenge is undermining hopes for a negotiated settlement with Iran, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.
In his two Inaugural Addresses, President Obama has called for diplomacy to replace military bluster, but his failure to rein in U.S. imperial impulses during his first term has made the world dubious of his rhetoric as he enters his second, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett at GoingToTehran.com.
Behind the scenes, diplomacy appears to be making slow progress toward a resolution of the Iranian-nuclear stalemate, possibly early in the new year. But obstacles remain – and they are mostly in Washington, say Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett at RaceforIran.com.
For more than three decades, many Americans have viewed Iran through the lens of the painful hostage crisis of 1979-81, seeing the Islamic Republic as irrational and dismissive of international law. But the fuller story is more complicated and less frightening, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.