Magazine July 30, 2012, Issue

The Thirty Years’ War

From the cover of The Twilight War (Penguin)
The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran, by David Crist (Penguin, 656 pp., $36)

As American diplomats and their international partners prepared to sit down with their Iranian counterparts in Baghdad last May to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, the State Department was aflutter. In conference calls and background briefs, senior diplomats and Obama-administration officials suggested Tehran was on the verge of grasping Obama’s outstretched hand and might agree to deal seriously to end years of crisis.

That the talks would go nowhere was predictable. When Iranian negotiators proposed to hold discussions on May 23, Obama’s team agreed immediately; the White House cared little why the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had picked that date or venue.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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