On the possibilities of negotiating with Iran—and the tricky work of letting allies know we're serious about stopping Tehran's nukes
Is Syria finished?
What was supposed to be the Syrian phase of the so-called "Arab Spring" has evolved into one of the greatest tragedies of the twenty-first century. The once-peaceful opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's deeply entrenched and powerful Ba'ath Party regime has escalated into armed resistance and, finally, a brutal civil war—one that has now claimed close to 100,000 lives. This escalation poses a serious threat, not just to Syria's neighbors, but—given the existence of chemical weapons in Syria—to the international community as well.
The president has many options on Syria—though none is guaranteed to produce a good outcome.
The ultimate goal of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, the next round of which commences in Moscow on June 18, has always been the same: Determining whether Iran is willing to accept that its nuclear program must be credibly limited in a way that precludes it from being able to turn civil nuclear power into nuclear weapons. The collective approach of the 5+1—the five permanent members of the U.N.
Senator John McCain often attacks the two Democratic presidential front-runners for their soft stance on Iraq. “Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for the sake of political expediency," he recently said, "which recklessly ignores the profound human calamity and dire threats to our security that would ensue.” His critiques are clearly overstated.
If you buy this reading of events, you must accept a certain irony. It is fashionable in some quarters to say that U.S. identification with Israel produces hostility against us in the Islamic world. But, in actuality, Israel may be paying a price for the U.S.-led effort to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear aspirations. Those who view the Israeli offensive in Lebanon as counterproductive to U.S. foreign policy miss an emerging reality: Iran is waging a struggle to achieve regional dominance that threatens the United States and all its friends in the Middle East.