January 20, 2012

America And Iran Have Two Clear Choices: Rapprochement or War

"Many of the West's Iran analysts and experts, both Iranian and American, assert that the regime needs a U.S. enemy for its survival. If true, wouldn't sustained offers of friendship -- which would put the Iranian regime's domestic agenda at the forefront -- provide the biggest threat to the regime?" - Reza Marashi, 'A Tale of Two Diasporas,' ForeignPolicy.com, January 19, 2012.

"And between bombing Iran and an Iranian bomb, Israel prefers the former. But it is not confident Obama shares that preference.

When the two states cannot agree on an objective, tensions over tactics and strategies are to be expected. Nowhere has the disagreements been more stark than on the idea of talking to Iran. Obama entered the White House on a promise to pursue diplomacy with Washington’s foes. While this shift away from Bush’s outlook was welcomed in some quarters, it was met with great dismay in Israel – precisely due to the fear that in a negotiation, Washington would betray Israel’s security interests." - Trita Parsi, 'Obama vs. Netanyahu vs. Ahmadinejad,' CNN.com, January 19, 2012.
Trita Parsi, the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and author of two books on the history of U.S.-Israeli-Iranian relations, says "U.S.-Israeli relations are in a crisis over Iran."

The roots of the American-Israeli crisis are deep. Israel's false flag attack on the U.S.S. Liberty on June 8, 1967, remains a hidden thorn in their relationship. Thus far, America has been patient and diplomatic. But America's patience is running thin. If Israel continues to act in a hostile and belligerent manner towards America then the situation could get very messy.

The reality is that America is simply too big a power to be connected at the hip to any single nation, and Israel can't come to terms with this fact. Israel wants America all for herself because it is jealous and insecure, but America has outgrown this silly romantic affair. The days of Israel seducing America are over. Now, Israel must be brought into line by America and the international community. Israel's hardliners will argue that the world is "anti-Semitic," but the world will laugh this off because this shameless propaganda trick doesn't work anymore.

Stronger and friendlier U.S.-Iranian relations would produce positive effects for the region and the world. Israel will also benefit, but its current criminal leadership would be exposed and undermined which is why they are blocking the path to sanity and cooperation between America and Iran.

A rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran means Israel would have to improve its diplomatic game, and learn to join the international community rather than continue to piss on international law while hiding behind the might of U.S. marines.

Rapprochement would only be the beginning. America's free pass for Israel at the United Nations would be revoked. These actions will signal to the world that America is a serious international peacemaker, and greatly enhance the reputation of U.S. leaders. There will be a rebirth of pro-Americanism around the world.

But a U.S. rapprochement with Iran is not about restoring America's image. It is about building peace and security in the Middle East. It is about humbling Israel. And Israel needs to be humbled. Apparently, they learned nothing from their defeat by Hezbollah. Instead of getting wise, Israel has become more irrational and aggressive. It is now seriously threatening to attack Iran and destroy the world economy in the process.

The world needs to take a collective deep breath and reject Israel's paranoid view of Iran and the region. Israel is in no position to dictate issues of war and peace in the Middle East. Who is Israel to dominate U.S. foreign policy and drag it into a war that would severely damage American interests and American fighters? Israel is an ungrateful and spoiled nation that can't even win a war against a militia. It needs to learn to play nice, or be pulled by the ear out of the game.

America must talk to Iran, and bring Israel into line because America has regional and global responsibilities. This is the rational, wise, pragmatic, and realistic path to pursue. The current aggressive stance toward Iran by America and Israel is inconsistent with American interests.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, wrote in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, that "it is not in America’s interest to perpetuate American-Iranian hostility." He added that America and Iran share numerous strategic and economic interests in the region:
"Any eventual reconciliation should be based on the recognition of a mutual strategic interest in stabilizing what currently is a very volatile regional environment for Iran [e.g., Iraq and Afghanistan]. Admittedly, any such reconciliation must be pursued by both sides and is not a favor granted by one to the other. A strong, even religiously motivated but not fanatically anti-Western Iran is in the U.S. interest, and ultimately even the Iranian political elite may recognize that reality. In the meantime, American long-range interests in Eurasia would be better served by abandoning existing U.S. objections to closer Turkish-Iranian economic cooperation, especially in the construction of new pipelines, and also to the construction of other links between Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. Long-term American participation in the financing of such projects would in fact also be in the American interest."
Over the last twenty years, Israel has twisted the minds of Americans and Westerners by cultivating a paranoid-based view of the Middle East in the global mainstream media.

Are the Mullahs a bunch of power-hungry and shrewd tyrants? Yes, but they're not irrational and suicidal, as the Israeli government likes to portray them. Iran's political elite will not preemptively wipe Israel off the map, that is a lie that is spread by Israel. Reasonable men can be reasoned with, but rather than considering this fact, Israel has decided to wage war against Iran.

Below are four more facts that Israel is not considering and also does not want the world to consider:

Fact: The majority of the Iranian people are peaceful and pro-American, and want better relations with the United States, Israel, and the world.

Fact: America and Iran share strategic, economic, and security interests in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and the entire region.

Fact: Iran is a regional power with capabilities to inflict severe damage on the United States and Israel regardless of the status of its nuclear program.

Fact: America and Iran would both gain politically and economically by restoring diplomatic and trade ties with each other.

Who do I want Iran to have better relations with - Russia and China, or America? The answer is America, if it abandons the course of war and regime change, and takes on a more constructive role in the region.

In their 2008 article, "The Grand Bargain," Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett said that an American President "should reorient American policy toward Iran as fundamentally as President Nixon reoriented American policy toward the People’s Republic of China in the early 1970s." They added:
"Nearly three decades of U.S. policy toward Iran emphasizing diplomatic isolation, escalating economic pressure, and thinly veiled support for regime change have damaged the interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East. U.S.-Iranian tensions have been a constant source of regional instability and are increasingly dangerous for global energy security. Our dysfunctional Iran policy, among other foreign policy blunders, has placed the American position in the region under greater strain than at any point since the end of the Cold War. It is clearly time for a fundamental change of course in the U.S. approach to the Islamic Republic.

By fundamental change, we do not mean incremental, step-by-step engagement with Tehran, or simply trying to manage the Iranian challenge in the region more adroitly than the Bush administration has done. Rather, we mean the pursuit of thoroughgoing strategic rapprochement between the United States and Iran: the negotiation of a U.S.-Iranian "grand bargain." This would mean putting all of the principal bilateral differences between the United States and Iran on the table at the same time and agreeing to resolve them as a package.
It is clearly in the national security interest of the United States—and in the interest of America’s regional allies—for the next U.S. administration to try to get Iran to work with us whenever and wherever possible, rather than against us. This cannot be achieved by trying to coerce Tehran into near-term (and imminently reversible) concessions. Rather, the only way to achieve this is by entering into comprehensive talks with the Iranians without preconditions, with the goal of resolving bilateral differences, normalizing bilateral relations, and legitimizing a significant and positive Iranian role in the region. That is the essence of the "grand bargain" approach."
Watch Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett's case for a U.S. initiated "grand bargain" with Iran in this video.

In December 2009, Hillary Mann Leverett restated the need for American-Iranian cooperation in an article called, "U.S.-Iranian Rapprochement Enhances Regional Security for All":
"If we want Iran to work cooperatively with the United States and our Middle Eastern allies in forging a more stable regional order, we need to be prepared to offer Tehran an alternative strategic paradigm—a paradigm in which Iranian decision-makers can see that they can meet the Islamic Republic’s most fundamental strategic needs more effectively by cooperating with the United States and our allies than by working at cross-purposes against us.

This alternative paradigm—which I have frequently described as a “grand bargain” or, as some have suggested, a “grand agenda”—would start from the premise that Iran is not just a problem to be managed. In much the same way that President Richard Nixon understood that strategic rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China was imperative for American interests in the early 1970s, strategic rapprochement with the Islamic Republic is now truly imperative for American interests in the Middle East. At this point, the United States cannot achieve any of its high-priority objectives in the greater Middle East—in the Arab-Israeli arena, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, with regard to energy security, etc.—without a more productive relationship with the Islamic Republic."
Rapprochement between America and Iran would be a great and historic achievement. The Middle East would be transformed for the better. But can Obama deliver? Or was Nixon a bigger visionary?

True, Nixon didn't have to deal with a pesky little spoiler when he extended America's hand to China, but if the world's only superpower can't bring all sides to the table and negotiate security agreements then what is the point in being the world's only superpower?