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Has Obama’s ‘let’s talk’ approach worked with US adversaries? A report card.

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Iran’s recent capture of an American reconnaissance drone that was operating over its territory laid bare a covert war between hardening adversaries that seems to leave little opportunity for dialogue. And the domestic political environments in both Iran and the US don’t favor any amicable gestures, either.

Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert in US-Iran relations, says the opportunity for dialogue still exists. But with Republican presidential candidates promising they’d be even tougher on Iran, the chances of Obama extending a hand to Tehran before November seem slight.

Syria

When Obama talked about a “comprehensive” Mideast peace upon taking office, one of the elements of such a peace was to be a Syria that no longer looked to Iran for support and guidance. Administration officials thought the young Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad could be coaxed down a different path through dialogue – and as a result the US ambassador’s post that had sat vacant under George W. Bush was filled.

But that was before the Arab Spring and the bloody repression in Syria. The US still has its ambassador, Robert Ford, in Damascus, but his principle interlocutor is no longer President Assad but the Syrian people as they battle for Assad’s departure.

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