Though the Obama administration has offered direct, unconditional talks to the Iranian regime, Iran has failed to respond. Does America’s continued attempts to pursue diplomacy, at the expense of more forceful interventions, portray the U.S. as weak on a global stage? Or is diplomacy the best of bad options and the only legitimate way to garner international support?
For the motion
Attorney and Specialist in the areas of U.S. Middle East policy and reform in the Arab world
Liz served most recently as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (2005-2006). Her responsibilities included designing... Read More
Founding Partner, Rosemont Capital
An expert on Iraq, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and Middle East and Persian Gulf geopolitics, security, and economics, is adjunct senior fellow... Read More
Against the motion
R. Nicholas Burns
Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs & Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government
Nicholas Burns, a career foreign service officer, is Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School... Read More
Senior Fellow and Director of Research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution
Pollack is an expert on Middle Eastern political-military affairs, with emphasis on Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other areas in the Persian Gulf.He... Read More
Where Do You Stand?
For The Motion
The Obama administration has privately and publically offered direct, unconditional talks to the Iranian regime and the Iranians have failed to respond: there is no active diplomacy with Iran.
Successful diplomacy with Iran requires both meaningful incentives and the threat of military force if diplomacy should fail; neither has been implemented by the Obama administration.
The Obama administration's unrequited attempts to engage in dialogue with Iran displays American weakness in the region and constitutes a failure to act on Iranian aggression.
Against The Motion
While U.S. diplomacy with Iran has been unsuccessful, future diplomacy to quell Iran’s nuclear ambitions will include the Russians, Chinese and the European Union and should be pursued.
Ending diplomacy would collapse any potential for a peaceful outcome and would allow Iran to build a nuclear arsenal unencumbered by American interference.
The U.S. would not benefit from taking unilateral action against Iran and, until America’s allies are convinced that a good faith effort has been made, the U.S. should continue pursuing diplomacy.