Ray Takey and Suzanne Maloney lament Ahmadinajad's demise
Two of the most renowned Iran experts, Suzanne Maloney of Brookings institute and her husband Ray Takeyh of CFR are lamenting Ahmadinajad's demise in Tehran. In a new article titled " Ahmadinejad’s Fall, America’s Loss" published by New York Times, they write:
"The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is being sidelined by religious fundamentalists, and it’s bad news for American officials seeking to halt Iran’s nuclear program. The same Iranian leader who dabbled in Holocaust denial and messianic fantasies was, paradoxically, also the theocracy’s most ardent advocate of direct nuclear negotiations with Washington. As Mr. Ahmadinejadfalls out of favorwith Iran’s hard-line religious leaders, the prospect of a nuclear deal between Tehran and Washington is diminishing."
The two experts' analysis is totally different from what they wrote in 2008 when the "Brookings Institute" and the Council on Foreign relations asked Takehy and Maloney to write the third chapter of the book "Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President" The third chapter was titled "Pathway to Coexistence: A New U.S. Policy toward Iran". They wrote that the US should only deal with the Supreme Leader, and no one else:
· Previous attempts at engaging Iran were derailed by U.S. efforts to exploit factional divides within the regime. In the end, the historical track record makes clear that the only path toward resolving American differences with Tehran is one that deals directly with the ultimate power center—the supreme leader.
· Understanding that Khamenei is the appropriate starting point for any American engagement clarifies the task"
Alas, this is not the first time that the top experts change their views in such a radical way. In a review of their 2008 analysis, I wrote a report and detailed how they have been changing their predictions and advice almost every year. And almost every time they proved wrong.
But the real question is how much impact these wrong analysis have had on US policy with Iran. The impact has been devastating. In September 2008, the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave a speech in Washington and explained how the US policy toward Iran over the past three decades has been completely wrong: (official transcript)
“I have been involved in the search for the elusive Iranian moderate for 30 years.(Laughter.)I was in the first meeting that took place between a senior U.S. government official and the leadership of the Iranian government in Algiers at the end of October, 1979… Every administration since then has reached out to the Iranians in one way or another and all have failed”
When an audience laughs at the depth of US missteps with Iran, we have the right to ask who advised such policies. To begin with the right answer we should review Takeyh and Maloney's work.