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30 May 2012


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Babak Makkinejad

This is a pipe dream.

Strategic accomodation between the United States and Iran is not possible under the present dispensation prevailing in the United States.

Expecting a man, whose misguided coercive diplomacy brought US and Iran to the threshold of war this past Febraury-March, to seize an strategic opporunity with Iran is a supreme example of wishful thinking.

In 2009, during his first year of his presidency, he could have concievably tried to do so.

But he did not.

Now it is too late.

Bill H

"President Obama will have to demonstrate the equivalent of both Kissinger’s strategic vision and Nixon’s willingness to assume domestic political risks..."

He may or may not have the "strategic vision," I'm inclined to doubt it and he has shown no real evidence of it, but he most certainly does not have the "willingness to assume domestic political risks." The very idea is laughable.

Chris Bolan

Babak: I never said that I expected President Obama to reach an accommodation with Iran, so it's not accurate to portray my piece as 'wishful thinking'. My posting is neither hopeful nor despairing -- it is analytical. Moreover, the fact that President Obama hasn't yet in your view 'tried to do so', does not necessarily mean that it is now 'too late'. It means only that he hasn't yet seized the opportunity that I suggest he should.


Agree with Babak. US politics will not permit any settlement.

US politics seems to be dominated by a lynch mob craving blood and by those who claim to be cowed by that mob...all for the benefit of security contractors, of course.

The lynch mob is really just a bunch of bullies, afraid to put their own skin into the fight, so the US attacks only the weakest and poorest (Afghanistan) for no reason that they can articulate.

The only thing that has saved Iran so far is that it is has shown that it might be able to land a solid punch in return before it goes down. That has been enough to scare off the mob and reveal them as a bunch of cowards.

This is nothing more than Israeli paranoia, well cultivated and transplanted to the shores of the Potomac, where it has found fertile ground, ironically in a place bristling with more military systems than any other.

Babak Makkinejad

The late General Odom stated 2 pre-conditions for US:

1- US dropping any any and all her objections to the Iranian nuclear projects within NPT.

2- US giving absolute reliable guarantees that Israel will not attack Iran with nuclear weapons.

I do not beleive that US leaders are prepared to meet Odom's condidtions.

Alba Etie

IMO President Obama has assume a pretty good deal of political risk in telling the Likud both here and in Israel that it cannot attack Iran and expect American help .


Nixon was able to override a fading power-center within his own party - aging freinds of Chaing Kai Shek - without fear of partisan reprisal. Obama does not have that freedom re the Israel Lobby, whose influence is peaking and bipartisan.

I think he's shown more guts on this front than any other recent president; the possible exceptions (Carter, GHW Bush) illuminate the problem through the one thing they have in common - being the only presidents in my lifetime to run for re-election & lose. What a coincidence...

mac n.

A negotiated settlement is of course attainable.

It is a political question and not one based on natural antagonisms. We are the natural ally of Iran and it is only politics, more precisely, recent politics, that is post-1979, that impedes a return to the balance of power that is in US, Israeli and Iranian interests.


Babak Makkinejad,

Why do you believe the US-Iran Cold Conflict was going to flash hot in a end of winter war this year?

Babak Makkinejad

Mr. Obama's coercive diplomacy, on which he had evidently been collaborating with EU leaders since 2010 at the very least, aimed to economically strangulate Iran.

Iranians stated that if they could not sell their oil no one else could (out of the Persian Gulf) by blocking the Straits of Hormuz.

That meant war; in my opinion.

Babak Makkinejad

A manned mission to Mars is also attainable but not at acceptable costs.

Richard Steven Hack

As I've said repeatedly and it is clearly incontrovertible, the US position on Iran has ZERO to do with any alleged "nuclear weapons program" - which just about everyone agrees does not exist and the DIA claims basically never did exist except on paper - but rather with regime change - or more precisely, regime disruption.

In other words, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down and thus the military-industrial complex wants a replacement of the $100 billion or more a year they've been getting free from the US taxpayer - or China, take your pick - for the last decade. Only Iran offers another decade-long war. North Korea would be too "hot", China is nuclear, as is Pakistan. Only Iran is an "easy target" in the sense that it cannot threaten the US homeland while at the same time burning up billions in war expenses which will have to be replaced at inflated prices.

And of course, there's the oil...

Recent articles in various places have correctly pointed out that Obama is "more Bush than Bush" in his militaristic foreign policy. Obama is owned and operated by the Crown and Priztker families in Chicago. He is not going to go against his sponsors in any way in defanging the military-industrial complex OR the Israel Lobby.

Therefore anyone who writes a piece seriously considering that the US might conceivably have an interest in resolving the issues Iran presents is delusional.

Iran does not have and has never had and probably - without a significant change of leadership - never will have a nuclear weapons program which would do them absolutely no good strategically and would do their soft power foreign policy projection considerable harm.

The Iran crisis is manufactured from whole cloth and is merely the pretext by which the US will start yet another bloody and interminable war for the profits of major corporations and the campaign contributions of corrupt politicians.


Chinese philologist Victor H. Mair (of the University of Pennsylvania) suggests that jī [機] in wēijī [危機] is closer to "crucial point" than to "opportunity."


(Mr.) Richard Steven Hack said....

"...the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down and thus the military-industrial complex wants a replacement of the $100 billion or more a year they've been getting free from the US taxpayer - or China, take your pick - for the last decade. Only iran offers another decade-long war."

Crucial point/juncture indeed.


The Democrats are just as bad, but:




Yes. I follow the prophet, Lewis Black, in his opinion of the two parties. On the one hand, actual conservatives face more BHO appointments to the federal bench and more Holder. On the other hand an evident intent to create a privileged ruling plutocracy plus a desire to replace SS, and Medicare with private insurance programs that will not give the coverage that exists now plus Dan Senor and John Bolton. pl


SECSTATE John Bolton or SECSTATE Joe Leiberman? I'd laugh if I didn't feel so much like crying.


I don't know if these economic policies are strangling Iran but they are certainl strangulating Spain and Greece. The collective 'conventional' wisdom is to stabilize not labor markets (people needing income/employment) but stabilizing financial markets. Return on money being far more important than return on work.

Chris Bolan

I think you are letting Iran 'off the hook' too easily. Stategy is an interactive 'game' and Iranian actions have certainly contributed to heightened tensions. Additionally, while the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against is indeed an important player, the President and Congress (through funding and war authorization) have at least the potential to take decisive action in the realm of foreign policy.

As to the 'delusional' critique of anyone writing about US interests in reaching a strategic accommodation with Iran, what is the alternative? To remain silent?

Babak Makkinejad

The alternative is the situation prevailing on the Korean Penninsula.

Iran is the "New North Korea", Southern Persian Gulf States are the "New South Korea", and the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman the "New DMZ".

This situation will persist - almost certainly - for the next few decades.

The beaver



Lani Kass prevails ???


Was there a purpose behind today's leaks apparently confirming that the U.S. was behind Stuxnet other than to poke a stick in Iran's eye and scuttle negotiations?


To follow up on PS, here's a decent summary article:


The beaver

Interesting read:

Will the Ayatollahs accept someone who has been livinh outside Iran ?
The name Hooshang Amirahmadi may not be familiar to many. An ambitious and very capable academic, who lives in New Jersey, Amirahmadi is planning to run for president of Iran in June 2013.

While he is a staunch nationalist and a proud Iranian, he is obviously very much influenced by the nearly 40 years he has spent in the United States. He first got there in 1975 — three years before the revolution — for a masters degree in Industrial Management from the University of Dallas, a PhD in Planning and International Development from Cornell University. He joined Rutgers University in 1983 and has continued to teach there until this day.


Perspicace, monsieur.

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