Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Vice President Biden made headlines by affirming the Obama Administration’s willingness to participate in bilateral talks with Iran, if “the Iranian leadership, Supreme Leader, is serious.” This formulation completely obscures how it is the Obama Administration, not Ayatollah Khamenei, that has not been diplomatically serious. That’s because the Obama Administration remains unwilling to detach itself from the neo-imperial strategy in the Middle East that it inherited from its predecessors.
In an interview with Russia Today, see here or click on embedded video above, we set America’s dysfunctional Iran policy in the context of what we describe in our new book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the “imperial turn” in U.S. Middle East strategy. As RT headlines the interview (quoting us), the United States “has militarily coerced Middle Eastern political outcomes since the Cold War.” The results have not been pretty, neither for the people of the Middle East nor for American interests. But America’s political class remains focused on applying its established imperial strategy yet again vis-à-vis Iran.
In the interview, we also
–explain why this strategy—encompassing sanctions, economic warfare, covert action, and cyberattack—won’t work against the Islamic Republic.
–outline our “worst case scenario”: that the United States will start another war in the Middle East to disarm another Middle Eastern country of weapons of mass destruction it does not have”—for the damage this would do “to the American position in the Middle East makes how much damage was done to the American position by the invasion of Iraq look quite trivial by comparison.”
–describe what a really serious U.S. diplomatic approach to Tehran would look like.
–discuss the negative effects that America’s two most prominent ostensible allies in the Midde East—Israel and Saudi Arabia—are imposing on American foreign policy and American interests.
–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett