Flynt Leverett and Dan Drezner “Debate” Whether A Grand Bargain With Iran Is Possible


Last week, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett penned a New York Times op-ed advocating for a robust effort to achieve a “grand bargain” with the Iranians, rather than continuing down the Bush-Obama path of “containment.”
In response, Dan Drezner over at Foreign Policy wrote a very critical response, in which he counted the ways that he did not like the Leveretts op-ed.
I then responded to Drezner’s post on this blog.
The folks over at Blogging Heads must have picked up on this exchange, because they arranged for a “debate” between Leverett and Drezner, which I have posted above.
I put “debate” in quotation marks because this particular blogging heads session is not really a traditional back and forth argument. Instead, it consists of Drezner asking a series of critical questions (and rolling his eyes), and Leverett offering responses.
Still, the session is an excellent primer on why working toward a “grand bargain” with Iran could be a real game changer for the United States – and how the obstacles to getting there can be overcome.
The part of the exchange I found most interesting (at about 28:30) was when Flynt laid out exactly why a grand bargain is necessary. He argues that none of our most urgent objectives in the Middle East (solving the Israel/Palestine issue, putting Lebanon on a more stable path, improving conditions in Iraq) can be solved without a more productive U.S.-Iranian relationship. Therefore we either strike a deal with the Iranians or we continue to muddle along without success on these pressing issues.
— Ben Katcher


4 comments on “Flynt Leverett and Dan Drezner “Debate” Whether A Grand Bargain With Iran Is Possible

  1. ... says:

    brigid is ignoring the perception that usa congress is israel controlled.. anthony would like to verify it… thanks to both of you for highlighting an ongoing issue that is conveniently ignored by many, with the overall media appearing absent in action as usual… if the mainstream media was part of the military they would have been charged with deserting a long time ago… unless of course they were a propaganda branch for the military in which case they continue to do a brilliant job!


  2. Anthony says:

    brigid, you are ignoring the fact that it was the likudnik neoconservatives that wanted regime change in Iran. It was basically Israel who turned down Iran’s offer.


  3. brigid says:

    Iran and the U.S. have common strategic interests that can coalesce. Having Russia on board helps in that process. As far as Israel is concerned, a moderated Iran is likewise in their interest. A grand bargain was offered by Iran in 2003, including recognition of Israel, but turned down by a Bush/Cheney agenda bent on regime change. In addition a lowering of tensions with Iran will give impetus to the internal reform forces in Iran.


  4. Anthony says:

    The only thing that the Obama Administration has in its Iran file is Iran’s nuclear program. Anything else will raise alarm bells in Tel aviv (and other capitals who enjoy the status-quo). And you can bet that the lobby will work twice as hard to torpedo any policy that is counter to their interest.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *