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LPJ Fisks NYT's Flint Leverett

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Joined: 03 Mar 2004
Posts: 305
Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:18 am    Post subject: LPJ Fisks NYT's Flint Leverett Reply with quote

As Michael Totten says, it's pretty hard to get EVERYTHING wrong, but Leverett manages.

1) Leverett argues Iran offered to assist in the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 "and establish a new political order in Afghanistan." In return, in 2002, Bush labelled Iran a member of the Axis of Evil in his State of the Union address.

- Leverett knows that it is widely accepted that the Bush Administration was diplomatically deficient before Condoleeza became the loudest foreign policy voice in the White House.

Blaming Bush's mistakes is easy, however, his claims are ludicrous. Why would the United States ask one militant Islamic regime (Iran) to help destroy another militant Islamic regime (Afghanistan)? There is much to be said about cooperation, but the US does not need to worry that the Brits are going to go on a mass Islamic campaign. The Brits also haven't been shouting "death to America" since 1979, and militarily cooperating with the Brits is not completely unprecedented and a possible security risk.

It's one thing to have a verbal endorsement. It's quite another to militarily ally with a country America does not even have diplomatic relations with, which chants "Death to America" and wants to destroy America's ally Israel.

2) Leverett continues:
In the spring of 2003 ... the Iranian Foreign Ministry sent Washington a detailed proposal for comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences. The document acknowledged that Iran would have to address concerns about its weapons programs and support for anti-Israeli terrorist organizations. It was presented as having support from all major players in Iran's power structure, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei." ...

"Finally, in October 2003, the Europeans got Iran to agree to suspend enrichment in order to pursue talks that might lead to an economic, nuclear and strategic deal. But the Bush administration refused to join the European initiative, ensuring that the talks failed.

- Mr. Leverett "heard" this from friends in the government. However, if one re-reads Leverett's rather convincing words (Do you have high level government insider contacts?), you'll notice he's rather vague. Iran "acknowledges" that it has issues to resolve with nuclear weapons and Israel, etc.

Leverett paints this as a missed opportunity, but we don't know how much was missed.

It seems he wants the US to bend to Iran's interests. Iran is threatening the world with nuclear proliferation, so, according to Leverett, the US needs to let them get away with it if they "acknowledge" that they have been naughty. Change behavior? Not necessary. Changing their behavior hinges on "acknowledging" their naughty tendencies, but getting something even greater: RECOGNITION.

It seems the 2003 proposal was an Iranian plea for legitimacy. However, it wasn't really a plea, it was a nuclear threat. ...

Read the rest at the link:
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