Next Stop Iran? Podcast Perspectives from Two Sets of Experts


Ahmadinejad_1
Ever since Pres­i­dent Bush put the Iran­ian regime on notice dur­ing his recent State of the Union
address, we’ve heard more dis­cus­sion in the media about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of US mil­i­tary action in Iran. Lis­ten­ing to the talk, you can’t help but feel as if it’s 2002 again, as if we’re in the ear­ly stages of anoth­er drift toward war. Even though the talk is just start­ing and the rhetoric is fair­ly tame (at least from the US side), it some­how feels like it’s a giv­en.

This week, we want to point out two pod­cast­ed radio pro­grams worth your time. The first (iTunesfeed), com­ing out of San Fran­cis­co, fea­tures a pan­el dis­cus­sion on US-Iran­ian diplo­ma­cy. The pan­el of experts fea­tures Abbas Milani, pro­fes­sor of Iran­ian stud­ies at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty and co-direc­tor of the Iran­ian Democ­ra­cy Project at the Hoover Insti­tu­tion, along with Peter Brookes, a senior fel­low at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, and Philip Giral­di, a for­mer CIA offi­cer who assert­ed in a 2005 arti­cle in The Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive that the admin­is­tra­tion was already prepar­ing plans to go into Iran.

The most dispir­it­ing idea to come out of this con­ver­sa­tion is Abbas Milani’s asser­tion that Pres­i­dents Bush and Ahmadine­jad, two deeply unpop­u­lar lead­ers at this moment, might be look­ing for a Gulf of Tonkin style event that would offer a pre­text for war. A war gives Ahmadine­jad the best chance of sav­ing his polit­i­cal life. And it would give Bush the chance to ful­fill his admin­is­tra­tion’s hawk­ish ambi­tions, and per­haps even bol­ster his own sup­port at home. If both sides are just wait­ing for the right pre­text, war could be upon us more quick­ly than we thought.

The sec­ond pro­gram, “Pas­sage Through Per­sia” (iTunesfeed), com­ing out of New York City, com­ple­ments and adds to the first. It fea­tures a dis­cus­sion with Ali Ansari, pro­fes­sor of Mid­dle East­ern Stud­ies at St. Andrews Uni­ver­si­ty, and Craig Unger, a Van­i­ty Fair cor­re­spon­dent who has recent­ly writ­ten on the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s pol­i­cy toward Iran. Togeth­er, these two pod­casts will give you a good sense of the issues at stake and where things might be head­ing in the next cou­ple years.


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