The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for February 15:

  • The Heritage Foundation: The Heritage Foundation’s Ted R. Bromund and James Philips make their against a U.S. policy of containment against Iran, preferring the “military option.” Their argument appears to defy the historical pattern of containment against the Soviet Union and China, asserting, “A serious containment policy will require the U.S. to maintain a credible threat of force against Iran. This will be even more difficult if Iran goes nuclear because the U.S. will have lost credibility.” Bromund and Philips say, “The U.S. therefore cannot rule out military action to stop the development of Iran’s nuclear program. If the U.S. fails to present a convincing threat of military action and thus effectively acquiesces in the Iranian program, it will encourage the Iranian regime to believe that it can continue to advance without fear.” The authors prefer this strategy over the “repetitious, content-free, and ill-informed mantra of containment.”
  • The Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin blogs that the Obama administration has been distracted by the new federal budget and is failing to support pro-democracy protesters in Iran. “There is no call for regime change and there is no indication we are planning any increased assistance for the opposition,” she says. Rubin repeats House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s (R-FL) call for tightening sanctions, and concludes, “Perhaps some oversight hearings are in order. The chairwoman and her committee should probe whether besides tweeting in Farsi the administration is offering anything more than lip service to the protesters.”
  • National Review Online: Michael Barone opines, “[M]ost of us would probably prefer to have seen a victory of people power in Tehran or Pyongyang than in Cairo… Mubarak’s Egypt was an ally of the United States, at least somewhat helpful in our own efforts in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, and a nation at peace, albeit a cold peace, with Israel.” He continues, “In contrast, the mullah regime in Iran is developing nuclear weapons to threaten Israel and other American allies within missile range.” He goes on to blame the Obama administration for the failure of June 2009 protests in Tehran to bring about regime change: “The people of Iran did take to the streets in opposition to the mullahs’ election-rigging in June 2009. But Barack Obama and his administration gave a cold shoulder to this green movement, and there was no regime change.”

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.