The Wrong Way on Iran
The Daily Beast / Leslie H. Gelb

Forget sanctions and military strikes. The only option on Iran is the one no one is talking about: strengthen our Arab friends in the region.

Sure, every decent, right-thinker longs for regime change in Iran. The country’s rulers bludgeon their own people, hurt American interests, lie—and could pose real security threats. But talk of Washington stopping Iran’s nuclear march by overthrowing its regime is more for American than Iranian ears. None of the proposed policies—tougher U.S. rhetoric, more economic sanctions, and/or a military strike—is at all likely to work. Nor do get-tougher proponents credit the fact that most Iranian moderates oppose leaps in American toughness. It usually lands them in jail and unites Iran against America. There is a better U.S. policy—not much better, but better—to strengthen our friends in the Gulf region and try to weaken the Revolutionary Guard regime with quiet and practical persistence.

To beat up constantly on Iranian bad guys, to daily sing the praises of America’s virtues, and to chant “regime change” won’t help.

The first alternative: Be more assertive about U.S. values and more damning of Tehran’s. I like Secretary of State Clinton’s calling Iran’s ruling Revolutionary Guard a band of “military dictators.” They are, and her words single them out without compromising friendly Iranians. I like President Obama’s condemning Tehran’s use of violence and torture. It’s important t... >>>

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