Botching Iran

With regards to Tehran, it is America that has been the constant bungler.

Issue: Jan-Feb 2007

Ray Takeyh, Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic (New York: Times Books, 2006), 259 pp., $25.00.

Will the United States attack Iran to set back its nuclear program? With Iraq in an ever-steeper downward spiral of violence, and with deepening military woes in Afghanistan, it seems hard to imagine the administration of George W. Bush undertaking another military engagement. The danger that Iran would react to such action by urging the Iraqi militias in its pay to retaliate against U.S. forces in Iraq makes the prospect of such an attack even more remote. Yet, some speculate, a president who took little heed of the peril his Iraq misadventure posed to his party's 2006 electoral prospects-and who is, as newspaper reports suggest, looking for his reputation to be rehabilitated by historians some decades down the line-might still feel that he had a promise to keep by preventing the world's worst weapons from falling into the hands of the world's worst regimes. Despite debacles aplenty, the question hardly seems closed.

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