In trying to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, the Bush administration has suffered from internal divisions that have left it "dysfunctional in some unique ways," according to Flynt Leverett, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC. Leverett is in position to offer unique insight on the Bush administration's dealings with Iran. From March 2002 to March 2003, he served as the senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council. Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years. Since leaving government service, Leverett served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy before becoming the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. The text of Leverett's comments on US policy toward Iran and Afghanistan, as well as on Washington's anti-terror policies, follows:
EurasiaNet: What is your assessment of the last six years of US foreign policy? What is the Bush administration's balance sheet? Leverett: Let's start with the Middle East after the September 11 attacks. I think America's standing in that part of the world has been seriously damaged. By standing I don't just mean popularity -- although popularity is not unimportant -- but rather that the United States' ability to achieve its goals in that region, to protect what it says are its most important interests there has been seriously damaged in the five years since September 11.
We see that on virtually every front. In Afghanistan, for example, yes, the Taliban have been overthrown, al Qaeda has lost its sanctuaries in Afghanistan, but we didn't finish the job there. Afghanistan is falling back into a period of dangerous instability. The threat of al Qaeda and violent Sunni extremism coming back there is getting worse.
I think the argument that,
Kamal Nazer Yasin is a pseudonym for a freelance journalist specializing in Iranian affairs.