The Great Debate

Why Russia won’t deal on NATO missile defense

By Yousaf Butt
June 17, 2013

President Barack Obama meets with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Mexico, June 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Learning the wrong lessons from Israel’s intervention in Syria

By Dalia Dassa Kaye
May 14, 2013

Israel’s recent attacks on military targets in Syria have made clear the widening regional dimensions of Syria’s civil war. They have also fueled debate about whether the United States should intervene. Look, some say, Israel acts when it sets red lines, and Syria’s air defenses are easy to breach. Israel’s involvement has energized those, like Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who argue for U.S. military intervention in Syria. Unfortunately, the interventionists are drawing the wrong lessons from the Israeli actions.

Helping Iran safeguard its nuclear stockpile

By Yousaf Butt and Peter Jenkins
April 4, 2013

Diplomats from six world powers  are due back in Kazakhstan on Friday for talks with Iran about its controversial nuclear program. From the hawkish “bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran” crowd to the “jaw-jaw-not-war-war” folks, there is no shortage of ideas about how to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.

Can diplomacy prevail with Iran?

By Michael Adler
March 1, 2013

New talks with Iran ended Wednesday with a surprising forward spin. More meetings are planned in the now decade-long American-led effort to ensure the Islamic Republic does not get nuclear weapons.

How close is Iran to nuclear weapons?

By Yousaf Butt
February 22, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last week that new second-generation centrifuges, which Iran plans to start up at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility, could cut by a third the time needed to create a nuclear bomb – underlining his deadline of this summer to take military action against Iran.

The U.S. needs a completely different approach to Iran

By Flynt and Hillary Leverett
January 31, 2013

As Washington and its great power partners prepare for more nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration and policy elites across the political spectrum talk as if America is basically in control of the situation. Sanctions, we are told, are inflicting ever-rising hardship on Iran’s economy. Either Tehran will surrender to U.S. demands that it stop enriching uranium or, at some point, the American military will destroy Iranian nuclear installations.

Assessing the resiliency of Hillary Clinton

January 14, 2013

As Hillary Rodham Clinton finished her last few weeks on the job, after a month of convalescence, how can we assess the secretary of state’s contributions?

Will this be the year that Israel goes to war with Iran?

By Daniel Serwer
January 3, 2013

Israel did not bomb Iran last year. Why should it happen this year?

Because it did not happen last year. The Iranians are proceeding apace with their nuclear program. The Americans are determined to stop them. Sanctions are biting, but the diplomatic process produced nothing visible in 2012. Knowledgeable observers believe there is no “zone of possible agreement.” Both the United States and Iran may believe that they have viable alternatives to a negotiated agreement.

Obama faces only hard choices in Mideast

By Aaron David Miller
December 6, 2012

The conventional wisdom in Washington these days is that a newly empowered president, freed from the political constraints of reelection, will have more discretion, drive and determination to take on the Middle East’s most intractable problems.

Mideast’s WMD ‘red line’ gauntlet

By Bennett Ramberg
December 3, 2012

“Red lines” are all the rage this year. Even as the swirl of Middle East headlines focus on Gaza and Egyptian politics, the region remains under two “red lines.” If Iran and Syria, respectively, cross the nuclear and chemical weapons thresholds, it would generate a strong, if undefined, Israeli and American response.