Paying Attention to Iran

Carl Cannon of RealClearPolitics argues that the press is not paying enough attention to what is actually the most serious issue facing the U.S.: The Iranian nuclear program. Though he does point out some exceptions:

Last month, on "Morning Joe," Mika Brzezinski hosted a program on which former U.S. diplomat Richard Haas and Iranian official Mohammad Javad Larijani discussed Iran's nuclear program.

Aside from denying everything, and doing so with a mirthless smile, Larijani claimed that Iran had "fantastic relations" with all its neighbors, termed the United States the world's biggest sponsor of state-supported terrorism, said it had supported the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and referred to "the renegade state of Israel" as the source of all the terror in the region -- all while of refusing to grant Israel even the right to exist.

Afterward, Brzezinski, who is well-informed on foreign policy issues, was shaken. "I was actually really disturbed by the entire interview," she told her panelists. "It was chilling."

A few moments later, Brzezinski added, "I also would love to hear each [presidential] candidate really, really, really talk about their perspective on the Iran situation."

Me, too.

Barack Obama says nothing much these days about Iran; the Republicans tend to say some simple-minded things. I would love to see the issue more thoroughly ventilated, and on a sophisticated level. Those who believe bombing Iran may be a good idea have to explain how this dramatic step would be worth the potential cost; those who argue that an attack should not be contemplated ought to tell us in detail how they would manage the challenge of an aggressively nuclearized Middle East.


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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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