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Published on March 2nd, 2011 | by Eli Clifton

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The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for March 1-2:

  • The Wall Street Journal: The WSJ’s editorial board catalogs newspaper and blog commentary on “The ‘Israel First’ Myth: Obsessed with the Jewish state, Mideast ‘experts’ got the region all wrong.” The writers lash out at the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman for his history of endorsing “linkage” and for suggesting that, “If Israel could finalize a deal with the Palestinians, it will find that a more democratic Arab world is a more stable partner.” They write: “It was fanciful of Friedman to think that Arab dictators–whom he now acknowledges have depended on scapegoating Israel to maintain their hold on power–would have agreed to such plans,” and “The current regime in Iran is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. It’s hard to see how Israel would be better off today if it had entrusted its security to the Arab dictators whose own people have suddenly made them an endangered species.”
  • Tablet Magazine: Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow Lee Smith opines that “While protest rage across the Middle East, Israel stands as a regional model of resiliency, relevance and democratic stability.” Smith admits that this is an about-face from the position he took last week, when he claimed that “Israel is finished” and “the fall of Hosni Mubarak is only the latest setback in a decade of extraordinary strategic debacles for Israel.” This week, he argues, “The Arab model for success is not Iran, or Turkey, but Israel,” and, more specifically on Iran: “Iran’s nuclear program and full-throated opposition to the United States and the Zionist entity may make it the envy of some fans of resistance in the region, but the fact is that an Iranian bomb is the Hail Mary pass of a dying society where there’s been no economic development for 30 years.”
  • The Washington Post: The Post’s “Right Turn” blogger takes issue with the White House’s “tepid language” in denouncing the Iranian government for its detainment of opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Jennifer Rubin observes that “[the administration’s statements] highlights perhaps the greatest failing of the Obama administration: its failure to seize the moment and provide support (rhetorical and otherwise) to the Green Movement in 2009.”
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2 Responses to The Daily Talking Points

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  1. avatar Jon Harrison says:

    Friedman is right and the WSJ is wrong, except — any democracy in the Arab world will be anti-American and anti-Israeli. Not that democracy’s a likely outcome, in my view.

    Israel a regional model of “resiliency . . . and democratric stability.” So was apartheid South Africa, then.

    Shouldn’t Obama have denounced the detention of Karroubi and Mousavi more forcefully?

  2. avatar scott says:

    “Iran’s nuclear program and full-throated opposition to the United States and the Zionist entity may make it the envy of some fans of resistance in the region, but the fact is that an Iranian bomb is the Hail Mary pass of a dying society…”

    It’s not Iran that has the “Samson option.”


About the Author

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Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



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