In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress earlier this week, CNN has published Hillary’s Op Ed, “Why Iran’s Rise Is a Good Thing,” see here. The piece opens,
“In September 2002, then-former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a U.S. congressional committee ‘there is absolutely no question whatsoever’ that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was developing nuclear weapons at ‘portable manufacturing sites of mass death.’ Once Hussein had nuclear weapons, Netanyahu warned, ‘the terror network will have nuclear weapons,’ placing ‘the security of the entire world at risk.’
Fast forward to this week, and Netanyahu was back, this time as prime minister, to make virtually identical claims about Iran. Yet not only has the U.S. intelligence community disagreed with Netanyahu’s assessment of Iranian nuclear intentions, so does Israel’s, according to leaked documents. Indeed, more than 200 retired security officers have publicly criticized Netanyahu as a danger to Israel’s security. Sadly, Netanyahu’s presentation reinforces caricatures regularly advanced by American and Gulf Arab pundits—caricatures of Iran as aspiring Middle Eastern hegemon, bent on overthrowing an otherwise stable regional order. It’s a misguided perspective that is actually hurting the United States.
In Netanyahu’s view, America should only improve relations with an Iran that stops its regional ‘aggression,’ its support for ‘terrorism,’ and its ‘threat[s] to annihilate … Israel.’ In other words, America should not improve relations with an Iran whose regional influence is rising.
In reality, Iran’s rise is not only normal, it is actually essential to a more stable region. As nuclear talks with Tehran enter a decisive phase, rapprochement with a genuinely independent Iran—not a nominally independent Iran whose strategic orientation is subordinated to U.S. preferences—is vital to halting the decline of America’s strategic position.”
The piece goes on to explain why it is critically necessary for the United States to abandon its failed and profoundly self-damaging quest for Middle Eastern hegemony and to embrace instead “a regional balance of power—not the chimera of American dominance misleadingly labeled as ‘balance,’ but an actual balance in which major regional states, acting in their own interests, constrain one another.” The piece also explains why, in this context, U.S. cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran is utterly indispensable—and how Israeli elites’ acute recognition that U.S. realignment with a rising Iran would inevitably constrain some of Israel’s preferred national security strategies impels Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders to extraordinary efforts to thwart U.S.-Iranian rapprochement. To continue reading, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/opinion/leverett-iran-relations/
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—Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett