Nikos Konstandaras at PostGlobal

Nikos Konstandaras

Athens, Greece

Nikos Konstandaras is managing editor and a columnist of Kathimerini, the leading Greek morning daily. He is also the founding editor of Kathimerini’s English Edition, which is published as a supplement to The International Herald Tribune in Greece, Cyprus and Albania. He worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press from 1989 to 1997 before joining the Greek press and has reported from many countries in the region. Close.

Nikos Konstandaras

Athens, Greece

Nikos Konstandaras is managing editor and a columnist of Kathimerini, the leading Greek morning daily. He is also the founding editor of Kathimerini’s English Edition, which is published as a supplement to The International Herald Tribune in Greece, Cyprus and Albania. more »

Main Page | Nikos Konstandaras Archives | PostGlobal Archives


« Previous Post | Next Post »

The NIE's Pre-Emptive Strike

ATHENS - There is something surreal in the symmetry of the U.S. intelligence community’s pre-emptive strike against President George W. Bush. It’s as if the intelligence community is acknowledging the old truth that generals always fight a war on the basis of principles learned in the previous one. Burned by its creative ambiguity in the run-up to the Iraq war, the intelligence community now seems to be trying to prevent itself from being used to justify another unnecessary war.

Sure, it’s a relief to see President Bush squirm this time around. But I feel uneasy whenever a conclusion that is not based on absolutely reliable data happens to coincide with the conclusion its authors need to make. We saw the result of a falsely positive assessment in 2003; we should not be happy if the assessment of 2007 is formulated from data that is incomplete. The intelligence community should continue to treat the issue as being wide open - as it will do, of course. So I would see the intelligence assessment as one step on the long journey of U.S. relations with Iran. (Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s triumphal acceptance of the U.S. intelligence assessment as justification for Iran’s position adds another dimension to the surreal aspect of the story and the way in which each side exploits every opportunity to back up its preordained position.)

That said, anything that puts a damper on the rush to war against Iran can only be positive. It has been evident for years that Washington and Tehran need to talk to each other. The United States cannot afford to shore up the credibility of Ahmadinejad and other reactionary forces by intervening in Iran. And the Iranian leadership cannot afford to jeopardize its people’s progress through an unnecessary confrontation with the rest of the world. If the latest intelligence assessment provides the opportunity for the two sides to meet in a diplomatic no-man’s land, it will turn out to be far more valuable than any other service the intelligence community could provide.

Please e-mail PostGlobal if you'd like to receive an email notification when PostGlobal sends out a new question.

Email This Post to a Friend | Del.icio.us | Digg | Facebook | Email the Author

Reader Response

ALL COMMENTS (34)
PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.