Friday, November 21, 2008

Two Important New Publications

I have not had time to read them carefully yet, but they will prove important.

1. The National Intelligence Council has released its forecast of the international geopolitical environment through 2025. The National Intelligence Council used to coordinate the operations of the various arms of the American intelligence services. I am not entirely clear on its role since the changes post-9/11, but this is a glimpse into the thinking going on in the analyst departments of US intelligence.

2. The American Foreign Policy Project has published a "Joint Experts Statement on Iran" where they authors argue--rightly in my view--that the United States should pursue its interests with Iran via diplomacy. Jaw jaw is always better than war war. The notion that the silent treatment combined with loudly broadcast threats is likely to produce results in the American interest is frankly childish in my view. That said, no one, I think, is arguing that we ought to court Tehran, but instead that we ought to make ourselves available for negotiations. (They also put together a handy list of common misunderstandings about Iran.)

The signatories are very impressive folk:

Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Co-chair
Vice-Chairman, Hills & Co.; Fmr. U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Russia, Israel
Ambassador James F. Dobbins, Co-chair
Fmr. Special Envoy for Afghanistan; Rep. to the Afghan opposition after Sept. 11, 2001
Gary G. Sick, Co-chair
Snr. Research Scholar, Columbia Univ. SIPA’s Middle East Inst.
Ali Banuazizi
Prof. of Political Science & Dir.; Islamic Civilization & Societies Program, Boston College
Mehrzad Boroujerdi,
Assoc. Prof. of Political Science; Founding Dir., Middle Eastern Studies Program; Syracuse Univ.
Juan R.I. Cole,
Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Prof. of History, Univ. of Michigan
Rola el-Husseini,
Asst. Professor, Bush School of Government, Texas A&M Univ.
Farideh Farhi,
Ind. Researcher and Affiliate Graduate Faculty, Univ. of Hawai’i-Manoa
Geoffrey E. Forden,
Research Assoc., Program on Science, Tech. & Society, MIT
Hadi Ghaemi,
Coordinator, Int’l. Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
Philip Giraldi,
Fmr. Counter-terrorism Specialist, CIA
Farhad Kazemi,
Prof. of Politics and Middle Eastern Studies, NYU
Stephen Kinzer,
Author & Award-winning Foreign Correspondent
Ambassador William G. Miller,
Snr. Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Int’l. Center for Scholars
Emile A. Nakhleh,
Fmr. Director, Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, CIA
Augustus Richard Norton,
Prof. of Int’l Relations & Anthropology, Boston Univ.
Trita Parsi,
Pres., National Iranian American Council
Barnett R. Rubin,
Dir. of Studies & Senior Fellow, Center on Int’l Cooperation, NYU; Fmr. Special Advisor to the UN SRSG for Afghanistan
John Tirman,
Exec. Director, Center for Int’l Studies, MIT
James Walsh,
Research Associate, MIT

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