I've written a review on Dennis Ross's new book which I am going to re-post here again:
"The only chapters of this book that concern me are those the authors have allocated to the current Iranian regime. For one thing, I am so happy that Obama's attempt to legitimize the murdering regime of Iran have failed solely due to the recent uprising of the Iranian people. But these authors have me worried more because they are the men who will shape the Iran policy in the next few years. (Hopefully Obama will be out of office by 2012).
"Okay here is my beef with the Iran related chapters:
"1-The authors had me until they came to discuss the so-called Iranian Fax message on pages 188-189. The author implies that the United States spurned a legitimate Iranian offer to settle all debts, so to speak, by striking a "grand bargain" and this offer supposedly came in 2003 via a Swiss Diplomat named Tim Guldimann. The offer is often cited by the leftists as evidence that President Bush's administration recklessly flopped a legitimate opportunity to engage in meaningful dialog with Iran. But again, this is nonsense. As AEI's Iran expert Michael Rubin has explained , the Guldimann memo was the work of a wishful thinking, freelancing, Western diplomat, and not a serious attempt by the Iranians to strike a deal. And guess who took that fax message to the US officials? A well-known Iranian regime agent named Trita Parsi whose organization is funded by the Iranian regime. So the authors lost their credibility the moment they started discussing this fake grand bargain offer.
2- The authors want us to believe the Iranian regime is just like any other functioning government/state. The authors of this book fail to understand one thing: That the Iranian regime leadership/mullahs DO NOT care about the well-being of the Iranian people. They don't have the land of Iran on their list as something they'd like to protect. They consider ISLAM and their faith as something holy and more scared. This is a common belief among Iranian people (including those I know) that the Iranian regime acts as if it is an occupational army. To give you an example, I'd refer you to how they treat victims of natural disasters in Iran. The Iranian regime does not care about IRAN. Period!
So how could you deter them if they don't care about that country? You can not deter bunch of radical Muslims whose top priority is to keep their Islamic faith intact.
3- I guess the authors have only found one label better than others to attack their critic: Neo-Cons. And this is what Left likes to do. They have mainly pointed at [[ASIN:0312376553 The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction]] Michael Ledeen.
They do not attempt to refute what Dr. Ledeen has said in terms of his thoughts or policy suggestions. The only thing authors do not in this book regarding their so-called Neo-Con critics is to tackle the policy suggestions made by the neo-cons. Why?
4- I understand that the main goal of the US govt should be to further its own interests in any possible way. This is what governments SHOULD do. That's why they are there. But what these authors propose in dealing with the current Iranian regime is way more expensive, costlier and more dangerous than any other method. Consider that what these authors propose (DIPLOMACY) fails.
What will be left is DIRECT military intervention by the United States in Iran. Whereas if the United States help change the regime in Iran, the costs will be far lower. The job will be done by the Iranian people and not the US soldiers. Why would they not want to try the cheaper way?
I hate to say this but it is in the nature of the left to come across as 'Imperialists'. It's either their way or highway. So let me make this clear: My understanding of this book was that if what the authors say fail, there will be direct US military intervention (either in offering deterrence or air strikes against nuke facilities). I still can not understand why regime change option is a bad option. Authors fail to explain this to me as a typical reader.
They have not analyzed the possibilities that the removal of this regime can bring to the table. They want the status-quo and they are wrong to be for Status-quo. The benefits of regime change in Iran outweighs anything one can imagine. You could imagine the effect that a secular democratically elected Iranian government can have in the region especially for the Israelis and how it will weaken the Russians, Venezuelans, Syrians and other terrorist groups in the region.
You can not deter a terrorist government. Can you?
5- What the authors have offered were tried in 1990s and from 2004 to 2008. It did not work. The US govt offered apology for 1953 incidents in Iran during the second term of Clinton presidency. Pres Bush did not approach the Iranian regime in 2005-08 period the way he did in 2002-03 period. He was cautious and less aggressive.
The United States offered all sorts of carrots to the regime in these periods and none worked. One wonders why? So why should the United States try failed approaches again? Should the authors not investigate the nature of the regime rather than blaming the US good intentions during those periods?
6- The Europeans have been negotiating with the regime for as long as one could possibly imagine. The Europeans are more important to the regime than the US is. Why? Because if we consider the trade an important tool of foreign policy, the EU holds more sway over the mullahs in that field. The amount of EU-Iran trade is far more than the amount of US-Iranian trade. They could offer anything to the Iranian regime to have them stop the pursuit of nuclear weapons/energy. They have failed. The authors do not realize that no amount of bargaining and negotiations will stop the dangerous agenda of the current Iranian regime.
The Europeans offered airplane spare parts, economic incentives, technology and WTO invitation and so on. If the Iranian regime genuinely believed in advancing the quality of lives of its citizens and its own standing in the international community, it could have taken up on those offers, halts its nuke program and be reasonable. Mullahs have not done so. Why? I won't provide the answer but the authors did not provide the answers either. Again why not?
7- The authors constantly refer the reader to dubious Iran experts like Ray Takeyh [[ASIN:0195327845 Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs]] who is a very suspicious individual in terms of his loyalties. Many in the Iranian community believes that individuals like him do not take their orders from where they should. Some point at his loyalties and how he is advancing the Iranian regime agenda within the American media or government. Why would the authors refer to such sources whose fairness is in question by so many people? Then there are names like Mahdi Khalaji, Trita Parsi, Karim Sadjadpour... etc. These individuals have little or no credibility among serious Iran experts. They have been exposed for who they really are. It's important that readers know who these guy work for.
There are so many points to make about this terrible book. But a few things are clear to me. The failed ideas of 1990s that led to terrorist attacks of September 11th are back again and those who are put in charge of Iran policy KNOW NOTHING about Iran personally.
They have never been to Iran. They don't speak the language and those who advise them are dubious characters like the ones I mentioned above. The authors suggest that Neo-Cons suffer from wishful thinking and they see the region as they wish. It's not the case. The authors who happen to be REALISTS suffer from this illness. They want to shape the region the way they want and they CAN'T see the region for what it really is. They want us to believe that the Iranian regime is just like any other nation-state. Well, they are wrong. They've been proven wrong.
Again, I am so happy that 0bama's effort to legitimize the current Iranian regime has failed and I hope the effort to negotiate with the Iranian regime fails even more. The Iranian people deserve to be free and the best thing people like Dennis Ross, Hilary Clinton or 0bama can do is to leave us alone. We don't need their help (since they offer no help) and we demand that they stop trying to legitimize our oppressors.