“The Middle East’s Way Forward”: The Leveretts on CCTV’s Dialogue

While in Beijing earlier this month, we sat for an interview with Yang Rui for Dialogue, CCTV’s flagship interview program (which, according to CCTV, “reaches viewers across China and over 80 million subscribers around the world”).  CCTV has now broadcast and posted our interview, click on the video above or here .  Hillary’s segment begins at 2:50, after a brief introduction and set-up piece; Flynt’s segment starts at 18:50.

–Hillary discusses how, in contrast to Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union for influence in the Middle East, strategic competition in the region today plays out between the United States and American-backed governments, on one side, and political Islam, on the other.  She argues that the Islamic State and other destructively violent forms of political Islam rise when the kind of political Islam embodied in the Islamic Republic—with a focus on building independent, indigenously rooted political order—is suppressed.

–Regarding the “Obama doctrine,” Hillary underscores that, while the Obama administration is perceived as less inclined than its immediate predecessor to commit U.S. ground forces in the Middle East, it has hardly retreated “from interfering in the internal politics of the Middle Eastern states.”  She goes on to describe the profound “mutual dependency” between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and how this has warped U.S. Middle East policy in significant ways.  She analyzes as well the drivers for the U.S.-Israel “special relationship.”

–Finally, Hillary evaluates the U.S. response to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s downfall and to the July 2013 military coup against Egypt’s elected Muslim Brotherhood government.  More broadly, she warns that “so long as the United States thinks it can buy political leaders, particularly these military leaders, it is a fundamentally unstable situation and, in the end, will be very bad for the United States.  In the immediate term, it is going to be bad for the peoples of the Middle East and for other countries that need to have a stable Middle East—for other countries that have interests in energy security, that have interests in a stable Middle East, this is bad for them right away.  In the long term, it will be bad for the United States, too, because it builds resentment among these populations…The resentment of the United States and of Americans today is so much more significant than it was twenty years ago.”

Flynt then discusses prospects for the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran and how Washington’s continued determination to assert “hegemonic prerogative” over Iran’s nuclear development makes it difficult for the parties to reach a comprehensive agreement.

–Turning to the Islamic State’s transnational character, Flynt explains that “Muslim resentment of American occupation of Muslim lands is not limited to the Middle East.  It is a shared concern across the Islamic world…It is fundamentally a question of resentment over what many, many, many Muslims around the world perceive as occupation by the United States.  And as long as the United States pursues policies that lead to it being perceived as an occupying power, it is going to lose however it defines the ‘war on terror.’”

–More generally, Flynt argues that “the Obama administration and other parts of the American political class still fundamentally look at the world in terms of how to preserve American hegemony.”  As for Obama’s pivot to Asia, Flynt suggests that the United States needs to go back to the explicit rejection of hegemony in Asia undergirding the Shanghai Communique, which reopened U.S.-China relations in the early 1970s.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


26 Responses to ““The Middle East’s Way Forward”: The Leveretts on CCTV’s Dialogue”

  1. A-B says:

    Wow! It’s obviously not safe for the American President Obama to be even in the White House! Another ‘mysterious’ incidence: “White House on lockdown after drone crashes into lawn” (NYP or NYT) ‘Somebody’ is very grumpy … AGAIN!!


  2. Karl.. says:


    One could hope it would be any relative to these kids:
    Or maybe Obama have already killed those too?

  3. A-B says:

    Karl, I think you misunderstood me. Let me be clear: I have no sympathies for Obama; no doubt he’s a war criminal. But, as I very early on highlighted his reluctance in engaging in military adventurism against Russia; not wanting to overthrow Assad in Syria; and the [apparent] de-escalation with Iran (for whatever reason, incl. opportunism during his second term) he is seriously pissing off the neo-con warmongers. This ‘incidence’ – not the first of its kind, mind you!! – shows that Obama is not safe – even in the White House! The ‘busy bees’ are conspiring against the Emperor, perhaps.


  4. Kooshy says:

    As Leverets correctly analysis there is
    strategic competition between US and her allies and that of the Islamic resistance front consisting of (SAR, Iraq, Hezbollah and now perhaps even Yemen and Bahrain), leaded and mainly supported by Iran.
    But unlike what they (Leverets) suggest/ recommend I don’t see or can feel that either side want (necessitate) or can see an strategic acceptances of the other sides position, like of that of US and China back in 70s.
    IMO the reason is that the US and her allies have not come or yet better said, refuse to realize they don’t poses the better and or upper hand to shape the region’s future and upcoming political events ( remember or think of Iraq , Syria and now Yemen), like US did after the mess they created in the VN era wars.
    Never less I think we are getting there soon.

  5. Smith says:

    On the interview, I must say it again here that unless the West does not accept the right of others to live on this planet we are not going to go anywhere.

    About the family that runs Hijaz, there is a soft coup going on right now with Sudairi 7 taking over the positions of power. This goes against the wishes of Abdullah (may he rest in hell), who wanted to have a more inclusive top leadership for Hijaz after his death. His family and those of other non-Sudairis are being sidelined.

    The extent of this coup will become more clear if now or in future, Muqrin is removed from the post of crown prince-ship. By then if history is any indicator, the policies of this joke of a country are going to shift to right and become more conservative, with more Wahabi ambition and deception. It appears some already have sensed the tide of things to come eg. Germans who cancelled the military sales to Hijaz. A smart move in my opinion.

    Meanwhile, US having itself cornered by initiating an oil price war to hurt Iran and Russia, does not have the maneuvering space to influence what will go on there since these Najdis fully know, US will not object to them in the middle of this price war.

  6. Smith says:

    Retards better keep at performing their cargo cult rituals. Bio scientist in his 40’s on his way to collect a Nobel, huh? Maybe his second? Muleteers.

    Instead of gossiping like a peere zan, go and urge for the government to put serious efforts in developing a line-up of Iranian internal combustion engines so you do not have to go and beg Russia for laughable number of 200 multi-fuel power packs propelling Zulfiqar tanks (a low quality copy of T-72) each at a price of over a million dollars per engine and another million dollar for spare parts per engine.

    And here is someone who talked under his own name (actually he did not even talk sense, and had only 2 likes on his facebook): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sattar_Beheshti

    It goes to show what can happen specially if you are talking sense. Like those Iranian “bio scientists” who were developing inexpensive recombinant medicines substituting expensive European imports; who were threatened into abandoning their projects since it would hurt the import mafia and dalals. After all soft hearted “bio scientists” have families too and do not want their children and wives to turn up dead like the guy above. Go figure, you retards.

  7. Smith says:

    Should U.S. Allies in Asia Get Their Own Nukes?
    With the U.S. stretched to provide a conventional deterrence, is it time to reconsider a fundamental policy? : http://thediplomat.com/2015/01/should-u-s-allies-in-asia-get-their-own-nukes/

    It seems only Iran should have nukes. The rest is fine.

  8. Smith says:

    Typo correction:

    “It seems only Iran should NOT have nukes. The rest is fine.”

  9. A-B says:

    Continuing my previous post; Obama’s ‘uncommonly’ behavior should be viewed against the commonly behavior of the Zio-swine Nuttiyahoo (who, to ‘commemorate today’, should be GASSED and thrown in the OVEN): The Israeli support for Daesh and its terrorism in the Golan Heights; the debacle with the US congress (his “spit on [Obama’s] face” and Obama’s refusing to meet him); and what’s happening in Argentina. Moreover, we have the commonly behavior of the fascist-racist eurotrash who in the shape of the deputy speaker of the German parliament and by her imprudence towards her Iranian hosts made it clear that these uncivilized and arrogant creatures think they have the right to decide what is legitimate in and for Iran.

    Anyway, whether or not Obama is engaging in a good-cop/bad-cop routine, this is of no consequence to Iran as of course we know Iran’s nuclear ‘issue’ is a sick joke by the Fascists who think they own Iran; they fantasize they will take control – if not today, maybe tomorrow. These are the same Britishites that, after having discovered oil in Iran, starved millions of Iranians. And when Iran eventually kicked out the Savages in 2011, all the Europoopean envoys demonstratively gathered in Qolhak. And as commonly is the case, no protests from Iran.


  10. Karl.. says:


    You mean neocons sending drones over the WH?

    in Syria he arm “freedom fighters” et.c.
    On Russia he arm Ukraine and escalate sanctions et.c.
    In Iran he have starved and caused huge damage with sanctions and have warmongered more than Bush. et.c.

    Such a man should not get any credit whatsoever imo.

  11. A-B says:


    Of course, I would be the last to give ANY credit to Obama or any other leader in the West … or ‘East’ (i.e. Russia and China) for that matter. I certainly refuse to give the Western ‘democracy’ credit for the Western Savages not bombing Syria. (How strong language should I use!?) The Conservatives are more ‘honest’; they say “make’m suffer good but kill’em right now” the Democrats say “we kill’em later and make’m suffer more and longer”. AGAIN, for the victim of such psychopathic criminals it makes no difference when they bicker about their ‘methods’. Obama HAS said he no longer wants to topple Assad … for the time being. Again, I was first to poke fun and mock the bozos in the alternative media who ‘suddenly’ have become fans of Obama after having bashed him as a worse war-monger than Bush, which he very well may be.


  12. Karl.. says:


    . Obama HAS said he no longer wants to topple Assad … for the time being.

    When did he say that? I just read this week how US will train “freedom fighters” in Syria.

  13. Smith says:

    Dr Sara Vakhshouri-Bellenoit former senior analyst for National Iranian Oil Company on the probability of crude prices going down even further. I do not agree with her assessment of Saudi-American role in causing this, but her insight as a highly placed ex-employee of NIOC is valuable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAru00LEtZA#t=1368

  14. A-B says:


    At the G20 meeting in Brisbane last November


    Q [Kristen Welker of NBC News] But just to put a fine point on it — are you actively discussing ways to remove him [Assad] as a part of that political transition?


    AGAIN; by no means I’m whitewashing Obama …. OOPS!


  15. hans says:

    What is going on with Iran’s space program, is it true it has been cancelled. What about the 2 leading space scientist seeking asylum in Brasil. A disaster for Iran.

  16. Smith says:

    hans says:
    January 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Over all things are not going well in all areas of research and development. Mr Rouhani has put all his hopes on Americans accepting Iran and solving Iran’s problems. Space program has become a causality of political wars between two equally corrupt political camps who desire to put a fake claim over this seriously ill project. There was a talk though, about launching a sat in one of these weeks, but I have some doubt Mr Rouhani would go forward with it during the six party talks.

    As for space scientists, they are all leaving Iran. Some even left Iran to work for UAE space program where their salaries are astronomical; literally. The research funding is being cut down to nothingness across the board. It is inevitable that the brains are going to leave. There is a demand for them out there. Meanwhile cargo cult prefers to wait for the arrival of its cargo from the West.

  17. fyi says:

    hans says:

    January 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    The Space Program is being reorganized again; undoing the organizational structure of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government.

    And I suppose that funding has been eliminated during this period of war – financial and otherwise – just like very many other state projects.

    The key development for Iran, however, has been the development of variable vane solid fuel rockets; of enormous military significance.

  18. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    January 27, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    “The key development for Iran, however, has been the development of variable vane solid fuel rockets; of enormous military significance.”

    What’s your guess? Why they have not tested this new design they were developing, due to technological reasons or the six party talks?

  19. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    January 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    My guess would be the six-party talks.

  20. Sammy says:


    …DER’AH: The U.S. has not changed its policy toward Syria. Don’t believe a word you read in the Western media. The Obama regime is deliberately leaking out false information to buttress the claim that there is a “rethink” in D.C. about the future of Dr. Assad’s government. Sly comments from Kerry recently were calculated to be read that way.

    6 days ago, a large container of advanced weapons and ammunition, including TOWs, were delivered to Turkey at the port of Eskenderoun and delivered to the eastern part of the country where the contents were distributed to ISIS at the Turk-Syrian border. The Turks reportedly told the ISIS terrorist-murderers and heretics that the donor was Saudi Arabia although the boxes all had indicia of American manufacturing.

    Al-Muzayreeb: SAA savaged 2 nests of Nusra terrorists here killing 6 rats and taking 6 wounded prisoners.

    Naamir: An attempted infiltration 22 kms northeast of the city was foiled. All weapons and ammunition were seized in this mixed Christian and Sunni town where terrorists supported by dwarf ‘Abdullah of Jordan regularly fire sniper shots at cars on the International Highway.

    Jaleen Village: In a uniquely well-executed operation, the SAA destroyed a Nusra truck near the Jordanian border containing Zionist-provided weapons and ammunition. The village overlooks the Yarmouk River Valley. 4 rats confirmed killed.

    Busraa Al-Shaam: Heavy fighting going on in the eastern section with the SAA making substantial progress in dislodging the rats.

    Al-Musayfira: Another well-executed operation trapped and killed 4 rats in a house:

    “Abu Shanab Al-Masri” (He had a big moustache, I guess. EGYPTIAN RAT VOMIT)

    Shawqi Qattaaf

    The other 2 were not identified.

  21. Sammy says:

    First right move against the Zio-Fascists in Brussels and Washington by the newly elected Greek Prime Minister, let’s see how the mass murderers will respond to this ‘Affront’, may be another CH, like in Paris ??? After all Tesipras is putting the ZATO war scenarios dreams in UKR under jeopardy….


    Russia Sanctions
    By James G. Neuger and Nikos Chrysoloras

    Alexis Tsipras, Greek Prime Minister-elect, speaks as he is sworn in as prime minister.
    Greece’s new government questioned moves to impose more sanctions on Russia, adding a foreign-policy angle to its challenge to the status quo in Europe.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza-led coalition said it opposed a European Union statement issued in Brussels Tuesday paving the way to additional curbs on the Kremlin over the conflict in Ukraine, and complained it hadn’t been consulted….

  22. kooshy says:

    From President Assad interview with Foreign Affairs


    ” So for the United States, only looking for puppet officials and client states is not how you can serve the interests of your country. You are the greatest power in the world now; you have too many things to disseminate around the world: knowledge, innovation, IT, with its positive repercussions. How can you be the best in these fields yet the worst in the political field? This is a contradiction. That is what I think the American people should analyze and question. Why do you fail in every war? You can create war, you can create problems, but you cannot solve any problem. Twenty years of the peace process in Palestine and Israel, and you cannot do anything with this, in spite of the fact that you are a great country.

  23. Persian Gulf says:


    So you have papers with significant number of situations or innovation that you would expect to be somehow close to a Nobel prize in a decade or two? Good for you then. I am happy for you on personal level.

    Do you write your Iranian name on your publications or like here you write your western name? What I said, and you did not refute, is an Iranian bio scientist with the characteristics described before, does not exist in north America to the best of my knowledge. Or if he/she does exist he/she does not spend his/her time ranting in this website to the extent you do. The onus is on you to prove otherwise.

    “FYI” basically says the same thing as you do for issues that you raise. And he is known to many people here and for the system as well, if they follow this website. He travels to Iran quite frequently and he can confirm whether or not he was questioned for saying the things he says here.

    A lot of people might have gotten into trouble for what they said. But you are not like them. no one introgates you for saying that cars in Iran need catalyic convertor. It might be painful for you but you are not important at all for IR to spend time on you.

    Contrary to what you say disclosing identity for Iranians here can have repercussions in western countries particularly in the US.

  24. A-B says:

    Great New: “Hezbollah hits Israeli convoy, kills 4 soldiers” … This was referred to attack No 1

    … and counting; until the day the Anglo-Franco-American/European infestation of the region, namely Israel, Saudi-filth and their bastard Daesh are exterminated. May the Savages be defeated, expelled and NEVER be let in again.


  25. Rd. says:

    James Baker delivers the kiss of death to the saudi royal disease.

    “James Baker was quoted as saying:

    “I believe it is important that we demonstrate to the Saudis the importance that they represent to us. This is an extraordinarily critical and sensitive time in the Middle East when everything seems to be falling apart. And the kingdom in some way is becoming an island of stability.”

    “The large delegation he[obama] brought along, which included active and retired diplomats, sent a message to the Saudi royal family and beyond. The delegation consisted of about 30 American officials, from both major parties. It included officials that served under George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, such as former secretaries of state Condoleeza Rice and James Baker, in addition to former national security advisor Stephen Hadley.

    Unsurprisingly, secretary of State John Kerry and CIA director John Brennan came along as well, in addition to the commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), General Lloyd Austin. To complete the picture, Obama brought along Republican senator John McCain, ”

    is US in such a desperado to pay such homage to the saudi terrorist just to keep up their ‘petro’ dollars?