A Cloud No Bigger Than a Man's Hand: Iran Dept.

Let's see how this story looks a year from now.
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In the six months -- yes, it's been that long -- since Barack Obama's re-election, the drum-beats from the United States and Israel about bombing Iran have partly died down. Not totally, of course; recall the Hagel hearings, and also this Congressional resolution appearing to pre-endorse an attack if it occurs. Still, so much else has been going on -- in Syria, in North Korea, with the European economy -- that the topic has moved off the front pages for a while.

Which is why I found it so interesting to see that the possibility of an attack had literally moved back onto at least one front page. Here are our household's three papers as they looked on the breakfast table yesterday.

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With a close-up of the story from the WSJ:

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The Journal's story is by reputable and careful reporters. Let us hope that when we look back on it a year from now (I'm marking my calendar for May 4, 2014) this story seems to have reflected an elaborate scheme of carrot-and-stick, bluster-and-cooptation, that the Obama administration was playing with the Iranians. Rather than an early indication, like those similar stories in late 2002 and early 2003 about a buildup around Iraq, that we were headed straight to war.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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