My friend Jon Basil Utley, publisher of The American Conservative, whom I know through our associations with the Cato Institute, writes today about a report on Iran. The report, by the Cato Institute, suggests further engagement with Iran’s moderate political factions, as opposed to ramping up aggression. Jon examines the dangerous neocon backed Project for a New American Century, and offers the Cato suggestions as an alternative course of action for peace in the Middle East. He writes (abridged):
Years ago there was a plan, A Clean Break: Project for the New American Century(PNAC), to wreck the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians and to re-mold the Middle East. It first involved destroying Iraq, or in the discredited words of Paul Wolfowitz, “The road to peace in the Middle East goes through Baghdad.”
Destroying Syria was to be next. And then came Iran. In 2006, columnist Taki Theodoracopulos warned in The American Conservative of the “Clean Break” plan “to aggressively remake the strategic environments of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. As they say in boxing circles, three down, two to go.” Core promoters of the PNAC plan signed an open letter to then President Clinton calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. They were Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Elliot Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Zoellick and John Bolton, all solid members of the Neoconservative project.
Trump has declared that Iran is violating its nuclear agreement although all the other signatories state that it is in compliance. Undermining the Iraq nuclear accord, first with Washington imposing tighter economic sanctions to bring about a pretext for attacking Iran, is now on the table as Washington’s next Middle East project.
The world is different from 20 years ago when the neocon plan was first hatched. Firstly there is Iran’s agreement to dismantle its nuclear program. A CATO report details all the ways Iran has complied with the agreement including giving up its stockpile of enriched uranium, dismantling two thirds of its uranium enrichment centrifuges, allowing international surveillance and other measures limiting its actions for the next 10 to 25 years.
The CATO conclusion is that America’s best policy option would be for further engagement with Iran to strengthen its more moderate political factions and weaken its hardliners. America used to be widely popular among younger Iranians who want peace and prosperity, not mullahs and wars. The greater threat is Washington’s military-industrial-Congress complex which so benefits from unending wars.
Read more here.