Continued from previous page
When you’re writing a massive 1,800 word op-ed, I suppose you have time to use your imagination — but with all that space, it shouldn’t come at the expense of expressing what current realities are:
1) Today, in the now, Obama has many alternatives. They are. however, sharply being reduced not by Obama’s own apparent initiative (see number 2 below), but by pressure from hawkish corners of Washington — especially, given the upcoming congressional elections, the right wing Israel Lobby — exploiting fear of an allegedly apocalyptic Iran.
2) Diplomacy has not run its course. Negotiations have not been prolonged and inclusive, but rather have barely been conducted at all. Karon writes that, “As Gary Sick and others with some understanding of U.S. diplomacy with Iran have noted , no serious and comprehensive attempt to engage Iran in a dialogue on the full gamut of conflicts between the two powers has yet occurred.” One of the complicating factors, of course, was the disputed June 2008 election in Iran, which ended in a brutal crack-down on the opposition movement. For their part, Takeyh and Simon only reference Iran’s domestic politics to note that the regime there would be perfectly happy not to retaliate (see above) because the opposition would be weakened when U.S. or Israeli bombs on their heads cause the Greens to come out of the cold and into a nationalist fervor (which doesn’t engender the regime’s need to retaliate because…???).
CFR is supposed to be an institution of scholars, so a little hypothetical reasoning might be in order. But that thinking in major newspapers should be accompanied by realistic interpretations of what is actually happening in the world. When it doesn’t–and the potential result is to boost an overstated and innaccurate case for war–Karon writes, it’s “criminally insane.” And then he hits the problem with this latest CFR/ WaPo piece on the head: It’s “insanity enabled by supposedly sober people falsely presenting yet another war of choice as some kind of necessity.”