Carnegie's Amr Hamzawy appeared on BBC Radio Scotland to discuss President Bush's visit to the Middle East. The poor domestic situation in Israel and Palestine make significant diplomatic gains unrealistic, argued Hamzawy. Mr. Bush is more likely to make progress on his Iran agenda—pulling Gulf countries closer to the American perception of Iran as the main threat to Western and Arab interests.
America’s relationship with the world is in disrepair. Anger, resentment, and fear have replaced the respect the United States once enjoyed. The next U.S. president should improve relations with Syria, and the mullahs in Tehran may be willing to shelve their nuclear plans permanently in exchange for a little face time with the United States.
The National Intelligence Estimate released this month offers an opportunity to escape this straitjacketed debate by embracing a new strategy that would pursue both the short-term goal of arms control and the long-term goal of democracy in Iran.
Iranian leaders appear to have recognized that by staying within the rules they can acquire capabilities sufficient to impress their own people and intimidate their neighbors, without inviting tough international sanctions or military attack. The National Intelligence Estimate, in a sense, says that Iran is playing the game so well that stopping it may not be possible within the rules.
Increasing pressure from the UN Security Council on Iran's nuclear program, while making clear the benefits to Iran of engaging in negotiations, is the only effective strategy to resolving the Iran nuclear dispute diplomatically.
The United States must alter its democracy promotion strategy, which has been unconstructive and counterproductive, and make clear that it has no intention of undermining Iran's territorial integrity. A move away from democracy promotion, however, should not signal indifference to human rights abuses.