Robin Wright: Not So Fast, Goldberg

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Robin Wright weighs in to the Iran debate with a longish piece arguing against, among other things, the possible timeline I projected for Israeli action against Iran. Read the whole thing, but here's one interesting part:

...the Islamic Republic is also adept at not saying no. If diplomacy ultimately breaks down, Tehran has a long history of making it appear (sometimes accurately) that the impatient West walked away first--and should be blamed for failure. The perception about who is to blame is critical to the next step -- returning to the United Nations for another resolution imposing more stringent sanctions or endorsing other punitive action. For the United States and its European allies to win backing for meaningful measures -- and not face a Russian or Chinese veto -- Iran must be seen as the guilty party. The shrewd Iranians know that. It's hard to see the Obama administration ordering waves of bombers to strike Iran--or turning a blind eye to an Israeli attack -- without at least trying another round at the United Nations. The last U.N. resolution took a full year to negotiate. The next one could be even tougher.
Wright concludes her piece by offering me a bet: "By July next year, I'll wager that neither Israel nor the United States will have bombed Iran." I, of course, believe that there is a better than 50 percent chance Israel will strike -- not a hundred percent chance -- and I don't believe that the U.S. would strike Iran by this time next year. So it's kind of a loaded bet, but I'll take it anyway, and also I'll probably bet against my own position with my bookie, Irving "The Finger" Kashkowitz. That way, I can't lose, or win, depending on how you look at it. Which reminds me of something someone once told me to describe the personality of Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister: "Barak is the kind of guy who plays himself in chess and gets pissed off when he loses." I'm sort of like that, too.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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