Stephen Kinzer writes: The diplomatic bargain struck by the United States and Iran this week is the Obama administration’s greatest diplomatic triumph. Efforts by the US Congress to derail it would, if successful, constitute a self-inflicted strategic wound even more myopic than its vote to endorse the 2003 invasion of Iraq. That vote, after all, was only endorsing a mistaken policy set in the White House. This one would be a rebellion against a White House decision that promises great benefits to the United States.
Congress, it turns out, is filled with Republicans and Democrats eager to act as enablers for the most repressive forces in Iran. It is an astonishing spectacle: an alliance between brutal Iranian institutions, principally the Revolutionary Guard, and elected representatives of the American people. Both are deeply invested in the paradigm of hostility, and both are in a state of near-panic at the prospect of reconciliation between Tehran and Washington.
Hostility toward Iran may not be the silliest of all American foreign policies –that would probably be the continuing trade embargo of Cuba – but it is undoubtedly the most self-defeating. No step the United States could take anywhere in the world would bring strategic benefits as great as détente with Iran. It has tantalizing potential. Iran’s interest in stabilizing the violence-torn countries on its eastern and western borders, Iraq and Afghanistan, closely parallels that of the United States. [Continue reading…]