Thursday, February 5, 2009


Prof. Juan Cole has an important post today on the relations between the Obama administration and Iran.

In his blog Informed Comment, Cole writes:

"Meanwhile, it is rumored that among the main shapers of Obama's Iran policy will be Dennis Ross, the head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the think tank of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. During Ross's tenure there, the WINEP website carried a call to bomb Iran; a paper arguing that nothing bad would happen if the US did bomb Iran; and it listed as a WINEP associate Daniel Pipes, who spent most of his waking hours during the past year decrying Barack Obama as a stealth Muslim and an apostate (which was it?) and who has repeatedly said racist things about Muslims. Turning Iran policy over to the Israel lobbies, the major agitators for a US war on Iran, is a very bad idea, and if this goes forward Obama will be signalling that there will not in fact be a new US-Iran relationship."

How has this come to pass? I voted for Obama because of his pledge to sit down and talk with Iran's leaders. Instead of considering Iran the "enemy," the United States needs to consider Iran a friend and an ally. Enemies go to war against each other, killing hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. This can't be the way forward for Obama foreign policy.

Yet Obama has signaled that he has chosen Dennis Ross to be his point man on Iran. Why? What does Obama think is going to happen with Ross controlling U.S. policy towards Iran?

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