Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, May 14, 2015


I heard Andrew Bacevich speak at an AP reading once.  I think the loss of his son in Iraq fundamentally opened his eyes to the way America operates in the world and the Middle East in particular and how that form of operation is unsustainable.

His argument here is one I've been circling around, too.  Obama is trying to "re-set" US-Iranian relations.  And that could be a remarkable moment in the contemporary Middle East.  Since 1990, the United States has suffered much more irreparable harm from Sunni extremists than it ever did from Iranian-backed Shi'ite extremists, the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing notwithstanding.

I remain unreasonably optimistic that Iran can become a regional partner with the United States, as long as we can move beyond the Hostage Crisis of 35 years ago.  The Iranian populace no longer hates us as they once did - in fact, they are remarkably pro-American for the Middle East today.  In Egypt, Turkey and Jordan, favorable opinions of the US range from 10-20%.  Meanwhile, in Iran, favorable feelings towards the US run at around 30%.  And that's with us slapping sanctions on them and treating them as pariahs.

Ayatollah Khameini is not going to live forever.  While it's unlikely that Iran has a "Pope Francis" moment, it's not impossible - especially if the US-Iranian deal holds.

The fact that this discomfits American allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia is actually a good thing.

It's time for the US to stop writing blank checks and start writing a new history.

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