First, Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest:
The full essay is, of course, worth the time:
‘We are reduced to hoping that there is some kind of Top Secret strategy of genius that the circle of advisors close to the President isn’t sharing, but the President’s very checkered record as a global strategist makes this kind of confidence hard to sustain.’
Now, via Mosaic, a well-made case for there being a secret, or not-so-secret, Iran strategy. The thesis: The goal of this administration, all along, has been to work with the Iranians, possibly via the Baker-Hamilton report (the Iraq Study Group):
‘The report, published in December 2006, urged then-President Bush to take four major steps: withdraw American troops from Iraq; surge American troops in Afghanistan; reinvigorate the Arab-Israeli “peace process”; and, last but far from least, launch a diplomatic engagement of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its junior partner, the Assad regime in Syria’
In some ways, this is quite a moderate position to take, not too radical, really. It involves following a blueprint, which has some sensible suggestions in it…pivoting from Iraq…but execution is everything:
I would surmise you’d have to be something of a realist and have a lot of shrewd and long-experienced hands around for proper execution: The Iranians support terror, run guns, influence and theology around the region while they smile at the meetings:
We’re still doing business with the 1979 and post-1979 crowd:
‘Expressing the ethos of an influential segment of the foreign-policy elite, the Baker-Hamilton report became the blueprint for the foreign policy of the Obama administration, and its spirit continues to pervade Obama’s inner circle. Denis McDonough, now the president’s chief of staff, once worked as an aide to Lee Hamilton; so did Benjamin Rhodes, who helped write the Iraq Study Group’s report. Obama not only adopted the blueprint but took it one step further, recruiting Vladimir Putin’s Russia as another candidate for membership in the new club. The administration’s early “reset” with Russia and its policy of reaching out to Iran and Syria formed two parts of a single vision.’
And in current hands:
‘Obama based his policy of outreach to Tehran on two key assumptions of the grand-bargain myth: that Tehran and Washington were natural allies, and that Washington itself was the primary cause of the enmity between the two. If only the United States were to adopt a less belligerent posture, so the thinking went, Iran would reciprocate.’
Our author finishes with:
‘Allow me to conclude on a more optimistic note: they have reason to be confident for now, but current policy may not outlast Obama. It remains to be seen whether, after January 20, 2017, the American people and their leaders in Washington will really permit a nation of 70 million, with a third-rate military and a damaged economy, to dominate the Middle East and threaten all of our allies and interests there.’
What kind of worldview would allow one to think that America itself is mostly the problem, an aggressive military hegemon preventing peaceful, democratic protests and uprisings from spontaneously forming around the globe?
Well, this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, the age of Aquarius. Aaaahhhh-quarreee-uuuuss:
As posted previously on this site: Many foreign policy thinkers were open to some dealing with those who control Iran, but it was conditional support based upon the enormous difficulty of the task, as I understand it.
Previously on this site:
On June 15th, 2007, Charlie Rose sat down with Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Brent Scowcroft to discuss foreign policy and geo-strategy. That’s over seven years ago!
I was surprised to find that Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981, described very nearly what the Obama administration’s current Iran policy seems to be. Runs from 32:52 to 35:10 (Sorry I couldn’t embed with the exact time-stamp).
A few minutes can explain a lot. Well worth your time.
Addition: Here’s a brief summary of that argument:
1. The Iranians and the Iranian regime, despite what their intentions may be, have a right to enrich uranium up to 5% according to international law. They’re doing this.
2. We’re asking them to abandon this right as a precondition to any negotiations, creating an asymmetry. We should offer to lift sanctions first in return just to get them to swallow their pride and sit down for talks. This pride may extend beyond the mullahs and regime, and go into the cultural and national psyche of Iranians.
3. Whatever their intentions may be, unlike North Korea, the Iranian regime isn’t out and proud about nuclear enrichment and weaponization. They’re at least claiming to follow international law which gives us some leverage.
On this site, see: George Shultz & Henry Kissinger At The Hoover Institution: ‘What A Final Iran Deal Must Do’
***Post updated, repeats removed.