Why Push Back on Iran?

(American Enterprise Institute) Kenneth Pollack - I would like nothing more than to see a peaceful relationship between the U.S. and Iran. I was President Clinton's Director for Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council and ardently supported his bid at rapprochement with Iran's reformist president, Mohamed Khatami. Similarly, when the Obama administration sought not only a nuclear deal with Iran but a full-fledged transformation of the relationship, I publicly and privately supported them as well. With the failure of all of these bids to reach out to Iran, Obama's in particular, it is clear that the men who run Iran's foreign policy have no interest in a better relationship with the U.S. They continue to define the U.S. as their enemy, and they treat us accordingly. After so many sincere approaches, and after getting shut out so many times, I think it inescapable that we conclude that the fault lies not in ourselves but in our foes. The Iranians never had an American president more willing to accommodate their needs and fears than President Obama, and they once again spurned him. The simplest explanation, the one most consistent with Iran's past behavior, and the one most obviously correct is that Ayatollah Khamenei and the rest of Iran's leadership were not interested in the better relationship that Obama and Secretary of State Kerry craved. It is hard to conclude anything other than that Tehran is determined to treat the U.S. as its enemy. Moreover, Iran actively threatens America's interests and allies in the Middle East. Israel is the best known of America's allies threatened (and attacked) by Iran through a variety of proxies and allies. With Iran's lavish backing and encouragement, Hizbullah continues to arm and insist that it will eradicate the Jewish state. And the Iranians themselves continue to boast of their determination to destroy Israel. The Iranian regime backs virtually anyone willing to employ violence to subvert the status quo and/or fight the U.S. and its allies. Thus, I believe it incumbent upon the U.S. to confront an Iran that has repeatedly demonstrated that it will not compromise or cooperate, and only seeks conflict. The writer, a former CIA analyst, is a resident scholar at AEI.

2018-05-03 00:00:00

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