We launched our first Caravan in February 2012 under the leadership of our friend and colleague Fouad Ajami. Fouad spent his life studying, teaching and writing about the rich culture and history of the Middle East. He was a man of the East and of the West – a son of Lebanon who proudly became a US citizen. He loved his adopted country and was a patriot in the truest sense of the word.
World-historical changes are not conveniently demarcated by the turn of the centuries, but the 21st century looks like the opening of a new “paradigm” that might replace what has been called “The Modern Era” itself.
The strategic consequences of the deal have become apparent already: The credibility of American power in the region has declined, as the alliance between Iran and Russia grows ever more powerful. In fact, the text of the deal explicitly blessed this alliance by naming Russia an authorized supplier of enriched uranium. However one evaluates the implications of the deal for nuclear security, the political ramifications have become unmistakable.
Under the present regime Iran has every reason to want nuclear weapons. Two of Iran’s neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, have been invaded by the United States, a country that Iran’s leaders routinely refer to as “the Great Satan.” President George W. Bush named Iran a member of the “axis of evil.” Sectarian divisions in the Middle East are becoming more acute. Iran is feared and loathed by neighboring Sunni states
Not long ago the Obama administration tried to explain Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s budgetary priorities. The White House’s assertion that the Islamic Republic’s future spending would overwhelmingly be used for domestic, non-military needs was a response to the bipartisan fear that the clerical regime might use some of its new, post-sanctions cash—likely between $100 and $150 billion—on its expeditionary efforts in Syria and Iraq...
President Obama has made the Iran nuclear deal a centerpiece of his foreign policy legacy. Republicans rallied in opposition, along with key Senate Democrats, but because of a prearranged agreement with the White House, opponents were unable to block the Iran deal or even cast a dissenting vote.
Many Western policy makers assume that Iran is a rational player, and its policies are not driven by Islamic ideology. Under this approach, they assume that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will encourage Iran to make tough compromises on the nuclear program to the extent that eventually Iran will also drastically alter its defiant regional policies and work with world powers to bring peace and security to the Middle East.