Iran and the Bomb – Summary, Panel Discussion – Nov 18, 2013 – Elan Journo


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Journo is a fellow and director of policy research at the Ayn Rand Institute. His book, Winning the Unwinnable War: America's Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism, analyzes post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy from the perspective of Rand's philosophy. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Journal of International Security Affairs, and the Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, and in popular media outlets, including, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, and Canada's Globe and Mail. Mr. Journo has briefed Congressional staffers and spoken at numerous campuses, including Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, New York University, George Mason University, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

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Iran and the Bomb – Summary, Panel Discussion – Nov 18, 2013 – Elan Journo

  1. 1. Issues from the U.S. Perspective – Summary, Panel Discussion – Nov 18, 2013 – Elan Journo American policy toward Iran is predicated not merely on an accidental misreading, but rather on an active disregard of Iran's militant character and ideological goals. The long history of Iran's anti-West aggression and its attacks on American interests should dispel the notion that it is a peace-loving regime like any other. Far from it. Not even the Obama administration's vigorous attempt at whitewashing can change that. Engaging the regime diplomatically is destructive of our interests. Contrary to a widely held belief, such engagement is not costless. Two of many underappreciated costs: Iran gains time to advance its nuclear technology. Further, merely taking part, and stretching out the talks, enables Iran to portray itself as seeking a peaceful resolution. That can serve as a check-mate to any prospect of a U.S. or Israeli military option: if Iran's sitting at the negotiating table, that fact works to discredit advocacy of military coercion. What's even more damaging: the sheer fact that Iran’s negotiators are now sitting down with American representatives is a considerable advantage for Tehran. A premise of these talks is that, despite Iran’s well documented nuclear deceptions, despite its brutality and murder of Iranian citizens, despite its decades of sponsoring terrorism globally, despite its menacing ideological goals, despite the factual evidence of the regime’s character and goals, it is welcomed to a negotiating table as a regime of good moral standing. Is there a murderer who doesn’t want to be known as a law-abiding citizen? A fraud who doesn’t crave to pass himself off as scrupulously honest? So it is, on a far more momentous scale, with oppressive regimes: They would have us believe in their probity. A consequence of these talks—like President Obama’s recent good-will gesture of a phone call to Iran’s leader—is to hand Teheran the gift of unearned respectability. Our policy to Iran is fundamentally flawed, and that severely undercuts our ability to secure our national self-interest: the protection of the lives and freedom of Americans -and the safety of our close regional ally, Israel.