What Solution on Iran?


israel_iran_nuclear.jpgOne of the most fascinating things to come out of the recent dust-up over the embarrassment of Vice President Biden in Israel is the reasoning offered by many Israelis and supporters of Israel for why Israel needs American support now more than ever: in effect, “don’t anger the U.S., we need their help on Iran.”
But how, as The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg put it, to “neutralize the Iranian threat”?
In light of what they termed Biden’s “debacle” in Israel, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett once again forcefully advocated strategic realignment and engagement with Iran’s leadership, in part to get Israel to act towards pursuing peace. In the meantime, the Obama administration has continued pushing what are likely to be ineffectual sanctions on Iran, in the hopes of containing the country and its burgeoning nuclear program.
Yet as debate on Iran continues to stagnate, there is still the ever-present fear that something will snap in the Middle East, and war could break out in the event that Israel decides to act on Iran, with or without American help. It is in this context that I took another look at former Bush Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy James K. Glassman and Michael Doran’s Wall Street Journal op-ed from January, arguing for a “soft-power” solution on Iran, with a combination of sanctions, support for the Green Movement, and strategic communications helping create a situation in Iran that is more favorable to the U.S. and its allies.
While I hesitate to accept this view or advocate for regime change in Iran, whether through force or soft power, Glassman’s idea that the U.S. should be using all of its tools on Iran is an important one that deserves more attention.
For those interested in this debate, Glassman will be speaking at the New America Foundation Tuesday, March 16, discussing how he feels strategic communications can help the U.S. in Iran. The event will be moderated by Steve Clemons, and will be from 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm, and will also be webcast live here at The Washington Note.
— Andrew Lebovich


13 comments on “What Solution on Iran?

  1. Don Bacon says:

    They’re more than sheep, they’re tacit war promoters. Or, as in my favorite film (My Cousin Vinny), they’re aidin’ and abettin’.


  2. hass says:

    Don, the existence of an “Iranian threat” that has to be “neutralized” is simply taken for granted and not questioned, just as the existence of “Iraqi WMDs” was taken for granted and not to be questioned … and look where that got us. Shame on the Washington Note for acting like sheep.


  3. Don Bacon says:

    World leaders, under the UN aegis, have tried to for a long time to get nuclear weapons “under control” by way of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaties (NPT) which haven’t been properly enforced nor observed.
    Nuclear rogue states have refused to sign the NPT and have built nukes. (Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, India) Other than NKorea they go unchallenged.
    Signers of the NPT have failed to comply with it by reducing nukes. Obama has proposed expanding the US nuke budget.
    One signer of the NPT, which is complying with it, has been sanctioned and threatened by the US and its lackeys even though it is complying with the NPT under full UN surveillance. (Iran)
    And still we have diarists like Steve Clemons alleging an Iran nuke program and Andrew Lebovich writing about how to “neutralize the Iranian threat” and “What Solution on Iran?” without revealing any facts on any alleged Iran threat or any Iran problem that requires a solution.


  4. liz says:

    To remind everyone: Iran’s nuclear program started under the Shah, with the assistance and active encouragement of the United States, because it makes economic sense for that country. The Non-Proliferation Treaty recognizes Iran’s (and Egypt and Brazil and Argentina…) right to nuclear technology as being “inalienable”. IAEA reports have consistently stated that there’s no evidence of a weapons program. Indeed, the US only accuses Iran of seeking the OPTION to build nukes, which is a nonsense charge since any country with a nuclear program has the theoretical option to build nukes (according to the IAEA, there are 40 countries today that could make bombs if they wanted.) Iran has offered to place additional limits on its nuclear program that go well beyond its legal obligations, to further ensure that the program can’t be used to make bombs — something other countries refuse to do. We are in bed with the real nuclear-armed threats to the world (Israel, Pakistan, India) and yet claim that Iran is the the “threat”??? Nonsense. We are the ones who have threatened IRan with nuclear war, not vice versa.


  5. Charlemagne says:

    Suppose that liberalizing the nuclear market would rescue the global economy.
    Suppose that by giving permission to each countries in the middle east for pruchasing nuclear products (with the help of promoting war paranoia) would revive the world economy.
    suppose that ME governments spent trillions of dollars on nuclear market and finally revived the global economy by their government spending.
    is there any quarantee that a sociopath leader among these countries is not going to press the red button?
    how do we know that we are not going to create another hitler by liberalizing nuclear market?
    is it all under control?
    if sombody guarantee that everyting is under control and well designed I would support that policy.


  6. JohnH says:

    Ah yes, another statement that says that “the U.S. should be using all of its tools on Iran,” but then blatantly leaves out dialog and negotiations!
    Maybe the US should start using all of its tools on Israel instead of letting Netanyahu spit in Binden’s face.


  7. Charlemagne says:

    Don Bacon wrote: “So one could argue that Iran should change its policy and go for nukes, however that is nobody’s business but Iran’s.”
    Then some may argue that :
    “Yeah you liberals have no limit in saying laissez faire capitalism”
    “yeah let them get nukes and contribute into further proliferation. and further proliferation means further profit for nuclear markets. a deeper nuclear market means way to economic recovery ”
    If there will not be any civilian casualties, and if it is real going to work and rescue the global economy, I would agree. I really mean it.
    ps: “current balance in midlle east”, or current landscape in middle east is operating in favour of the west thou.


  8. Don Bacon says:

    Charlemagne. there is no “current balance in Middle East”. You somehow failed to notice that the ME is a boiling cauldron of war and threats of war. ME balance was particularly upset by the US conversion of Iraq from a secular state to an Iran ally.
    It is indisputable that if Iran were to get nukes then there wouldn’t be the litany of threats against it, which have been going on for years. So one could argue that Iran should change its policy and go for nukes, however that is nobody’s business but Iran’s.
    Finally, everybody knows that Israel has hundreds of nukes which the ME arab states have protested. Israel has recently announced a nuclear power program. Israel, unlike Iran, has refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and so unlike Iran, Israel is not subject to UN nuclear safeguards.


  9. Charlemagne says:

    If there is any Nuclear armement sign in Iran or Israel it should be stopped at any cost.
    Neither Iran nor Israel should have nuclear arms for the sake of the current status quo and the balance in the world and in the middle east while Current Status quo is already pro western.
    Nobody knows if israel have nuclear warheads too. its a total opacity.
    For US interests, proliferation of Nuclear weapons in middle east has to be prevented at any cost.
    1-) if Iran get nuclear warheads, that would ruin the current balance in Middle East.
    2-)If iran gets nukes, neighboring countries such as Turkey, Syria, Saudi, Kuwait even Azerbaijan and Armenia might feel insecure therefore they might try to look for alternatives for getting nukes too.
    If USA’s current aim is not creating a nuclear market that would boost global economy and revive the global markets which is in recession, Then USA has to prevent any proliferation in the middle east including israel. Such proliferation of weapons might result in a more strong Russia+ China influence over middle east.Therefore US should not take such risk to greenlight Iran nor appease Iran. Remember Last time the west tried to appease Germany prior to WW2.
    Some may argue that Why do we have to stop iran while it is obvious that it is a sovereign country.
    If US doesnt stop iran, iran may ruin the current balance in the middle east which is already a pro western.
    If US does not stop iran, iran may evolve into a regional or major power in the middle east.
    What is wrong with a country trying to evovle into a regional power in middle east?
    Not only USA but also non of the middle eastern countries want to see a burgeoning regional or major power under a theocratic totalitarian regime that might export its regime to neighbouring countries by force or coercions. That would again might result in an increased influence of Russia+ China over the middle east.
    As for US allies, they can be negotiated and bragained anytime. There is always a solution in international relations thanks to concepts such as bargainign, leverage or mutual interests.
    For instance Turkey currently the strongest country as a provisional UNSC member may be offered more appealing interest than Iran’s offer to Turkey.
    Japan, Germany and France are already US allies. there is always a bright solution for getting them in line with NATO.
    However I must say that We dont have any information if Iran has the real potential to develop nuclear warheads. I was just hypothetically reacting.


  10. chumanist says:

    The international community may not be getting okay ed by knowing the fact that there is seemingly indication that the US authorities are making preparations to strike down the Iranian nuclear sites (once the Iranian government does not respond to the ongoing diplomacy regarding its nuclear program) as some war-weapons are being transported from USA to the Indian Ocean’s island- Diego Garcia.The news regarding this possible American posture against Iran has been published yesterday in the Herald-Scotland.


  11. Don Bacon says:

    “the U.S. and its allies”
    The US and its allies? That would be the US and its lapdogs UK, France and Germany. Of the 200-odd nations in the world, that’s pretty slim pickins’.
    Countering these are Russia and China, both permanent members of the UNSC. Russia has common interests with Iran in the Caspian basin, and China is the second largest recipient of Iran oil exports, after Japan which is no US ally on this matter either.
    Temporary members of the UNSC are: Austria, Japan, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Uganda, Brazil, Mexico, Gabon and Nigeria. No strong support here, in fact Brazil is increasing ties with Iran and opposes sanctions, Mexico remembers US imperialism too well and Turkey has common interests with Iran on the Kurds.
    Other support in Asia comes from Iran trading partners India and Malaysia, and in the western hemisphere from Venezuela.
    On top of that, the 125-member Non-Aligned Movement has fully supported Iran’s nuclear program. They resent US imperialism probably more than they love Iran.
    The US and its allies intend to isolate Iran? Go fish.


  12. hass says:

    How about “neutralizing the Iranian threat” by accepting one of their many nuclear compromise proposals that exceed their legal obligations under the NPT, such as their offer to participate in their nuclear program as joint partners, thus ensuring that it can’t be used to secretly make nukes? But then, how will the warmongers justify their war on Iran for the sake of Israel? Our government has never even formally acknowledged these offers and instead deliberately avoided them.


  13. hass says:

    This is nonsense and rubbish. There is no nuclear weapons program in Iran and Iran’s nuclear program presents no imminent threat of any sort. What is the point of the sanctions and “strategic communictions” then? And the Green Movement also supports Iran’s nuclear program.
    Simply put, you’re missing the point, Steve. The nuclear issue is a deliberate frame-up and fig leaf for another policy: a justification for war. Those who support sanctions realize full well that the sanctions are themselves perhaps useless but will serve adequately as an incremental step towards their real goal, which is to keep the US and Iran apart and to hopefully start a shooting war for the sake of Israel.


Add your comment

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