The Daily Talking Points

News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for August 9th, 2010:

  • The Washington Note: Steve Clemons says that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a conflict that matters, “…far beyond the Israeli and Palestinian populations and is a screaming, right now challenge.” As the United States remains committed to remaking Afghanistan and Iraq the urgency of resolving one of the region’s biggest historical grievances has never been higher. Clemons suggest that President Barack Obama, “sees the vital and obvious linkage between resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict over Palestine and any sensible strategy rolling back and/or containing Iran’s nuclear and regional hegemonic pretensions.”
  • The Wall Street Journal: The WSJ editorial board says that the sanctions against Iran are beginning to work but additional sanctions are needed and the United States and Europe should offer more assistance to Iran’s democracy movement. The op-ed also suggests that Obama should invite dissident Iranian exiles to the Oval Office. Now, argues the authors, is not the time to drop sanctions in exchange for negotiations with Tehran. “The risk now is that the modest success of the sanctions will lure the Administration into dropping some of them in exchange for another round of temporizing and inevitably useless negotiations with Tehran,” they argue.
  • The Weekly Standard: Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn call attention to documents in the Wikileaks dump which claim that Iran is supporting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The authors say that reports of Iranian activity in Afghanistan show Obama’s August 2nd statement the United States and Iran have a “mutual interest” in fighting the Taliban to be a dangerous fantasy. Hayes and Joscelyn seem to willfully ignore previous passed-up opportunities for rapprochement with Iran.
  • The New York Times: David Sanger reports that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made comments indicating that sanctions against Iran have had a greater economic impact than anticipated by Iran’s government.  The administration’s statements appeared aimed at bringing Tehran back to the negotiating table but, Sanger points out, “Neither Mr. Obama nor Mrs. Clinton defined with any precision what steps Iran’s leaders would need to take to build confidence that they were willing to negotiate.”
  • The Huffington Post: David Bromwich makes the case that the post 9/11 United States has developed a dangerous trend of always being at war.  Obama, says Bromwich, is both withdrawing from Afghanistan more slowly than many would like and moving towards a military strike on Iran more slowly than many would prefer. “Will Iran become our third war of the moment? Sanctions which, Benjamin Netanyahu has said, should soon become ‘crippling sanctions,’ already have us in lockstep on that path,” says Bromwich. He warns that after the November midterm elections, “The Likud, in both Israel and America, may prove itself ready for action sooner than President Obama would like, just as the Tea Party picked up energy faster and harder than he looked for in the spring of 2009.” (Ali blogged on Bromwich’s article earlier today.)

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.