Sunday, February 26, 2012

No Domestic Political Benefit From Avoiding War

The Economist reviews Trita Parsi's new book on Barack Obama's failure to find common ground with Iran:

Even during the deepest chill of the cold war, America and Russia found ways of talking. Today a frozen silence stretches from Tehran to Washington. “When you don’t know what’s going on, and you don’t feel like you have somebody you can communicate with on the other side of the table, you are going to revert back to what’s safe…and what’s safe in the Iran context is demonization and just general negativity,” explains an American official....

[The] political will, says Mr Parsi, has been absent. The mutual mistrust has left no margin for error. Neither has seen any domestic political benefit in pushing for a serious settlement. And now, with the tick-tocking of the nuclear clock growing ever more insistent, reconciliation looks less and less likely. The enmity between America and Iran, stoked by three decades of demonizing each other, is no longer a phenomenon, concludes Mr Parsi. “It is an institution.”

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