M.J. Rosenberg writes: I rarely learn anything meaningful from reading The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg. In my opinion, his tight relationship with the Israeli government and its lobby here greatly influences his take on both foreign and domestic events. Although he occasionally deviates from the Israeli line, he not only appears very uncomfortable doing so, he tends to correct course fairly rapidly.
Nonetheless, in a Goldberg column about Iran this week, there was one paragraph that was dead-on and which he will have a hard time taking back (should he be so inclined).
Writing about a piece in the current edition of Foreign Affairs that endorses bombing Iran as a neat and cost-free way to address its nuclear program, Goldberg explains why he thinks the author, Council on Foreign Relations fellow Matthew Kroenig, is wrong. Goldberg says he now believes:
…that advocates of an attack on Iran today would be exchanging a theoretical nightmare — an Iran with nukes — for an actual nightmare, a potentially out-of-control conventional war raging across the Middle East that could cost the lives of thousands Iranians, Israelis, Gulf Arabs and even American servicemen.
Think about that for a minute. Uber-hawk Jeffrey Goldberg is saying that the threat posed by Iran is a “theoretical nightmare” while a war ostensibly to neutralize that threat would present an “actual nightmare.”
No critic of U.S. policy toward Iran could say it better or would say it differently. And why would we?
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has not yet made the decision to go nuclear. Speaking to CBS’ Face the Nation last Sunday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the same point. Iran is not working on the bomb.
We do know, as Goldberg says, that a “potentially out-of-control conventional war raging across the Middle East” could “cost the lives of thousands of Iranians, Israelis, Gulf Arabs and even American servicemen.”
And that makes the decision against war a no-brainer. As Goldberg puts it:
Now that sanctions seem to be biting — in other words, now that Iran’s leaders understand the President’s seriousness on the issue — the Iranians just might be willing to pay more attention to proposals about an alternative course.
That alternative course would be an attempt “to try one more time to reach out to the Iranian leadership in order to avoid a military confrontation over Tehran’s nuclear program.”
In short, dialogue.
The United States, to this day, has never attempted a true dialogue with the Tehran. Even under President Obama, all we have done is issue demands about its nuclear program and offer to meet to discuss precisely how they comply with those demands.
That is not dialogue and it’s not negotiation; it’s an ultimatum.