No Nullification of Election Results Means No US-Iran Dialogue

“Where is my vote?”  That was the question on signs held by hundreds of irate Iranian voters.  The world media zoomed in on those signs.  They will be long remembered in the same way as the lone courageous protestor who blocked a rolling tank during the Tiananmen Square protest in June 2003.  After weeks of protests and repression of protestors in Iran, the prospects for a U.S.-Iran dialogue are as remote as the potential nullification of Ahmadinejad’s reelection.

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While Iran Awaits Another Revolutionary Change

There is something about revolutionary change that keeps us from recognizing it while it is happening.  Only when it picks up its pace beyond control that we wake up from our slumber of ignorance and recognize that something really “big” is either happening or about to happen.  Such is the case in Iran today.


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Dealing with Iran’s Exercise of “Smart Power”


The Financial Times, a right of center but highly respected newspaper, could not resist about coming up with a sensational headline: “Hizbollah confirms broad aid for Hamas.”  The Hizbollah-Hamas connection is not exactly an unknown variable, only its specifics are.  Even after the admission of Hezbollah’s deputy leader that his organization is providing military assistance to Hamas, the issue still remains murky and unconfirmed by other sources.  Why, then, is there so much hoopla about Hezbollah’s admission of support for Hamas? Because that reality only underscores the effective exercise of “smart power” on the part of Iran–Hezbollah’s chief backer–in the Sunni Middle East.  That is also worrying the United States, which, under the Obama administration, is relearning to come up with its own smart power-related maneuvers towards Iran.

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The Obama Factor and the World of Islam

President Barack H. Obama spoke to the Muslim world from Cairo on June 4, 2009.  Symbolically, that day will always be remembered every time someone raises the issue of the United States’ relations toward the world of Islam.  The following statement he made that day will go down in history as a memorable one:  The United States is “not and never will be, at war with Islam.”  He made the same statement for the first time in Turkey two months prior.


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The Making of a New Global Strategy



The administration of President Barack H. Obama has started the highly intricate process of developing its own strategy with a bang in different regions of the world.  Here are the ingredients of that strategy: multilateralism, looking for a fresh start–which promises to be substantially different from the preceding administration–search for common ground involving Russia, invitation of negotiations with America’s traditional adversaries like Iran and North Korea, and at least the initial hope that approaches toward Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are likely to be radically different than the one the Bush administration pursued unsuccessfully.  This is a huge agenda.  But Obama’s administration has the enormous characteristic of freshness, metaphorically as well as substantively, in the sense that it is not carrying any baggage that had so infamously bogged down George W. Bush in an ostensibly endless inertia.


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Remembering Huntington


Samuel P. Huntington died on Christmas Eve at the ripe age of 81.  I never met the man.  But I read most of his work.  I had the occasion of hearing his presentation as a Ph.D. candidate, when he was invited by our Political Science Department at Southern Illinois University around 1974 or 1975.  All the faculty members were present to hear one of their brainiest, if not most famous, counterparts.  Huntington was well known for two books then: 

The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations

(1957), and Political Order in Changing Societies (1968).  The discussion of his presentation revolved around the second book.


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