Columbia University was correct to invite the Iranian president, and those opposing the invitation include individuals who do not tolerate any viewpoint other than their own, whether domestic or international. Iran is a major player in a region of strategic importance to the U.S.. American diplomats are willing to meet with their Iranian counterparts to talk about Iraq; certainly American academics and students (and hopefully the public at large, via CSPAN's television coverage) will get to hear the Iranian president’s opinions from his own mouth, rather than through the filters and spin doctors of the U.S.’s pro-Israel lobby.
September 24, 2007 5:16 PM
July 1, 2008 9:36 AM
The Current Discussion: Seymour Hersh reports a $400 million U.S. covert action program against Iran. On a scale of 1 to 10, what's the likelihood of an American or Israeli military attack on Iran before Jan. 20 (Inauguration Day), and why? For extra points, name the date.
I hate to pour cold water on the idea that the U.S. will participate in a war against Iran. These covert activities are not an introduction to war - in fact, they're the best proof that war will not happen.
It's a rather far-fetched expectation that by spending some money and attempting to ferment internal strife within Iran, the government of Iran will start a civil war that will open up an opportunity for the U.S. to wage war against them. I also doubt the possibility that after an Obama victory, Bush would use the November-January period to attack Iran. I have the same doubts about the possibility that Israel will attack Iran. A country ready to attack doesn't make a huge PR campaign about its plans.
We will hear a lot of rhetoric between now and next January. But the mistakes of Iraq, the unanimity of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies about the suspension of Iran's nuclear weapons programs, extremely low public confidence in the president, and a Democratic Congress don't bode well for any president going to war unilaterally against Iran.
May 12, 2009 4:55 PM
The Current Discussion: Are Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama on a collision course over Iran and the Palestinian problem? What would be the consequences of a breach between the United States and Israel?
If Netanyahu and Lieberman continue on their course of denying Palestinians their right to self-determination, and continue denying that they have nuclear weapons while threatening to bomb Iran's civilian nuclear facilities, yes - this will bring Israel and the U.S. onto a collision course.
President Obama is trying to find a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear program. This is the only sensible way forward. If we have learned anything in the last 60 years is that there is absolutely no military or violent solution for Palestine or for Iran.
June 16, 2009 9:57 AM
The Current Discussion: Are we witnessing a pro-regime coup in Iran? What should the world do in response? How will the election aftermath affect Iran's projection of power into the Middle East?
The first cracks in the decades-old closure of Iran have finally appeared, thanks to a combination of energetic youth, unstoppable technology, and a failed attempt to rig the Iranian "election."
First Iran tried to block Facebook, only to have to allow access again a few days later. Then they tried to stop SMS text messaging. Then came the attempts to block or jam the BBC Persian programs, before election results were made public. The only thing that they have yet to do is turn off the internet (which would be ironic, since Ahmadinejad has his own blog and the Minister of the Interior said that they got the results so quickly.)
The results of this breakthrough is that the genie of free expression is out of the bottle, and will unlikely be returned no matter who is eventually accepted as the victor. This is a good omen for people around the world whose lives suffer from dictatorial power, and for those who are attempting to speak on their behalf.