Time and Space

Posted by lex, on December 14th, 2011

Dennis Ross, who was until recently President Obama’s principal adviser on the Middle East, says that we still have time and space to prevent the nuclearization of Iran, which he admits would represent an existential threat to our foremost ally in the region, as well as a significant security threat ** to the United States:

The Obama administration is committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear arms as a “vital national security interest” but believes there is still time to change Iranian behavior through economic and political pressure, a former top adviser on the Middle East said Tuesday.

Dennis Ross, who stepped down last month as special assistant to President Obama, portrayed Iran as behind schedule on its nuclear program and battered by some of the worst strain seen in the country in three decades. Yet, more pressure is needed to prevent its leaders from acquiring a nuclear capability that would destabilize the region and heighten the risk of war, he said.

“This is not about containment; it’s about prevention,” Ross said in his first public address since leaving the White House. “I believe we still have time and space to achieve that objective.”

Ross appears to hope that the internal challenges Iran faces will somehow bounce in our favor, taking the nuclear issue off the table before kinetic actions are required. But in the case of Iran, hope is not a strategy, and what is required is neither time nor space, but the will to act vigorously in our own self-interest.

In an unselfconsciously ironic addendum, he notes that Israel would do well to negotiate for peace with its neighbors now, rather than awaiting events:

“There are many in Israel who look at the region and say, ‘Now is not the time,’ ” Ross told a gathering at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank to which he returned after quitting his government job. “If you sit back and wait for things to clarify, you will be acted upon. Your options shrink; they don’t expand.”

Good advice. I hope his former boss is listening.

** 03-19-21 Original link gone; substitute found – Ed.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Iran

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