Kinzer Addresses "The Folly of Attacking Iran"
In the first stop of a month-long tour, author, professor and former New York Times correspondent and bureau chief Stephen Kinzer spoke about “The Folly of Attacking Iran” in a Feb. 7 lunchtime Brown Bag Talk sponsored by the Office of Global Affairs.
Invading Iran would have grave effects on undermining American security,” Kinzer said. “Iran does pose a threat, but we need to have an alternative to bombing. I think we need to put all of our eggs in the diplomatic basket.”
Kinzer, who spent most of his adult life outside of the United States, has written several books on government and regime change, including All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, about the U.S. coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mosaddeq and install the Shah in 1953.
“We put the Shah in power and he would do anything we told him to do,” Kinzer said. “His oppressive regime bred anti-American sentiment and led to the development of Al Qaeda in neighboring Afghanistan. This nuclear crisis that we are facing would never have happened if we hadn’t have overthrown the democracy in Iran. We could have had a thriving democracy in the Middle East.”
Kinzer cited President Richard Nixon’s rapprochement with China as an example of the past success of diplomatic efforts. Nixon was the first U.S. President to visit the country and signed the Shanghai Communiqué, in which both nations pledged to resolve contentious issues in a diplomatic way. Kinzer believes that example should be examined when strategizing solutions for the tensions with Iran and that diplomacy is a patriotic issue, not a bi-partisan one.
“Nixon realized that a new relationship could be forged with China. There’s no guarantee that some kind of global security compact will come of diplomacy with Iran, but we must try and negotiations must be unconditional, direct and bi-lateral. Both sides must compromise,” he said.
Kinzer blames much of the resistance to negotiations with Iraq on what he characterized as a “cowboy” approach to foreign affairs by the Bush Administration, in which weapons become the chief means of resolving disputes. Such an approach is doomed to failure, he said.
More information on Kinzer, his colleagues and the tour can be found at: www.follyofattackingiran.org.