Foreign Policy Iran Iraq National Security The War on Terrorism

Clear-eyed Engagement

Roger Cohen continues to make the case for clear-eyed engagement with Iran

Let’s be clear: Iran’s Islamic Republic is no Third Reich redux. Nor is it a totalitarian state.

He suggests that Iran may prove to be what George W. Bush and the neoconservatives tried to make Iraq into:  a model for the Middle East of what a country that has come out the other side of extremism looks like, quoting a friend:

“Iran — the supposed enemy — is the one society that has gone through its extremist fervor and is coming out the other end. It is relatively stable and socially dynamic.”

Fareed Zakaria in a Newsweek article seemingly designed to provoke the ire of the right-wing argues that:

We can better pursue our values if we recognize the local and cultural context, and appreciate that people want to find their own balance between freedom and order, liberty and license. In the end, time is on our side. Bin Ladenism has already lost ground in almost every Muslim country. Radical Islam will follow the same path. Wherever it is tried—in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in parts of Nigeria and Pakistan—people weary of its charms very quickly. The truth is that all Islamists, violent or not, lack answers to the problems of the modern world. They do not have a world view that can satisfy the aspirations of modern men and women. We do. That’s the most powerful weapon of all.