Michael Rubin
Michael Rubin
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Iran's not-so-hidden hidden agenda

November 27, 2014  •  Dallas Morning News

While the United States and Europe may lament the failure to reach a final agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, for Iranian officials, all is going according to plan. After all, while the West may engage in diplomacy to resolve conflict, for Tehran, the process has always been about winning concessions and relieving pressure on Iran's moribund economy, not coming to agreement.

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The diplomatic insanity of Iran talks

November 24, 2014  •  CNN

A quip often attributed to Albert Einstein defines insanity as conducting the same actions repeatedly but expecting different results each time. By that characterization, insanity has been running rampant in Vienna, where diplomats from Iran and the P5+1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, have extended the deadline for talks aimed at resolving concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

The problem is not the attempt to resolve the crisis through diplomacy, but rather that the current diplomacy neither takes into account past Iranian behavior nor the lessons from similar diplomacy two decades ago to resolve North Korea's clandestine nuclear work.

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Erdoğan's Historical Truthiness

November 23, 2014  •  Commentary

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's declaration that Muslims discovered America, speculation he read in a pamphlet which lacked supporting evidence, tells a lot about the Turkish president's mind. After all, anyone who has traveled along the book stores of Beirut, or among the book sellers' stalls in Cairo, will find dozens of similar pamphlets claiming that Islam was actually responsible for everything from the discovery of gravity to the moon landing. And let's not forget that Shakespeare was really Sheikh Zubayr bin William, a Muslim Arab living in Britain.

Erdoğan, for his part, doubled down on his claim, demanding that his theory now be taught as reality in Turkey's schools.

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Could Oman be the Next Crisis?

November 14, 2014  •  Commentary

In 1970, with British help and support, Qaboos bin Sa'id overthrew his father and took the reins of powers in the Sultanate of Oman. Sultan Qaboos was an enlightened monarch, and firmly guided the xenophobic and isolationist state back into the modern world. Oman has since been a model of neutrality and tolerance, often acting as a bridge between regional adversaries (it is no coincidence that Oman served as the initial go-between for U.S.-Iran talks). Nevertheless, when push came to shove, Oman has done what is needed to combat terrorism. U.S. aircraft based in Oman launched some of the initial airstrikes against the Taliban during Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Failed Nuclear Negotiations With North Korea Should Be A Lesson For The US On Iran

October 21, 2014  •  Business Insider

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Clinton administration's signing of the Agreed Framework with North Korea. The lead up to the agreement and its aftermath should be a "teachable moment" for all those in the Obama administration intent on reaching a nuclear deal whatever the costs. After all, just as in 1994, the White House has committed itself to reach a deal with a rogue state with nuclear ambitions, regardless of the cost. White House actions suggest a belief that a bad deal would be better than no deal. Indeed, when researching my book on the history of American diplomacy with rogue regimes—research that took me to Korea—what became clear was that the Clinton negotiating team knew they had a bad deal but didn't care. Communist regimes were collapsing around the globe, and so negotiators confided in private that they needn't worry about the details, because just how long could the North Korean dictatorship last? In hindsight, the diplomatic process with North Korea was a disaster. After all, it has been against the backdrop of engagement and negotiated agreements with North Korea that the communist state has developed nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. Far from ending the threat from North Korea, it has been against the backdrop of often-desperate diplomacy that the threat became worse.

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Books by Michael Rubin

Cover of Dancing with the Devil Cover of Eternal Iran Cover of Into the Shadows

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