Lee Smith with a smart piece on, among other things, Richard Haass's recent op-ed calling for America to stop playing footsie with the Iranian leadership:

There is evidence to support the idea that the American foreign policy establishment believes stopping Israel from attacking Iran is a key goal of U.S. Middle East policy. At a late November war game simulating the confrontation over Iran's nuclear program, Nicholas Burns, the former undersecretary of State played President Barack Obama. "The most difficult problem we have is how to restrain Israel," said Burns. "We need to play for a long-term solution, avoid a third war in the greater Middle East and wear down the Iranians over time."

Lee also has a provocative new book out on the Middle East, The Strong Horse. I'm halfway through, will report back when I finish.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.