Nicholas Burns on Iran

What to do about Iran
The Boston Globe
January 20, 2012
Op-ed by: Nicholas Burns, professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics and a member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors
Topic: Iran

“WHAT TO do about an increasingly truculent and threatening Iran is now the most important foreign policy challenge of 2012. Republican presidential candidates are all over the strategic map. Rick Santorum wants the United States and Israel to bomb. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich accuse President Obama of weakness, but it isn’t clear that they would act much differently. Ron Paul opposes force against Iran because ‘they don’t threaten our national security.’

A more sophisticated plan would be to stick with the strategy that two unlikely partners – Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush – have tried since 2005: punish and isolate Iran with ever tougher sanctions while leaving the door open to negotiations and an eventual diplomatic solution. As an Iranian nuclear weapon is rightly unacceptable to the United States, both presidents left the threat of force on the table to concentrate the attention of mullahs in Tehran. This strategy is not by any means guaranteed to succeed. But it is beginning to gather greater support in key capitals and has quiet bipartisan support among many congressional leaders, keeping us, so far, out of another Mideast war.”

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