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Monday, Nov 5, 2007, 7:55 pm

Caging the Iran Hawks

By Adam Doster

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This weeks issue of The Nation has a nice set of stories on foreign policy, many that propose saner policies to counteract the dubious presumptions that too often fashion popular debate on Iraq, Iran and Islamic extremism. If you only have a few minutes, check out Juan Cole's piece (Go Blue), a hearty takedown of politicians whose rhetoric promotes the flawed belief that Muslim nations and individuals are inherently more dangerous than other populations. I'd also recommend Trita Parsi's exercise in Iranian mythbusting. A few key passages ...

2. Iran is irrational and cannot be deterred.

Not true. Iran's foreign policy behavior is highly problematic for the United States, but a careful study of Iran's actions--not just its rhetoric--reveals systematic, pragmatic and cautious maneuvering toward a set goal: decontainment and the re-emergence of Iran as a pre-eminent power in the Middle East.

And let's not forget that little word "diplomacy."

7. Stability in the Middle East can be achieved only through Iran's isolation.

Quite the contrary. History teaches us that an Iran that isn't part of the region's security architecture will be more destabilizing than an Iran that has been incorporated into the region's political order.

Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.

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