The scars of the past that both Iran and the United States share should not imprison the future, Stephen Kinzer suggested during a lecture, “Iran and the United States: Permanent Enemies or Natural Partners?” on Thursday.
Stephen Kinzer, former New York Times bureau chief in Istanbul and author of the new book “The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War,” sat down with Keenan Duffey, president of the Middle East Discussion Group at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, for a discussion of the role the Dulles brothers played in the Middle East.
I found those two episodes most interesting. First, the President of the US announced… he was going to bomb Syria, but many in Congress and in the country were against it, and he called it off. I can’t remember any episode like this in my lifetime, where a president of the United States announced he wanted to bomb a country — but the American people were against it? This is something quite remarkable. We’ve always supported military action when presidents decide to launch them. Then came the telephone call between President Obama and the president of Iran. This is another supreme violation of another basic Dulles principle. The Dulles brothers believed you should never have dialogue with your enemy. They were strong against, for example, any summits between American leaders and Soviet leaders. They felt that this would only destroy the paradigm of conflict. It makes the other person seem possibly sane and rational, and then you can no longer portray them as evil and threatening. So these two episodes — the refusal to bomb Syria and the contact with Iran — make me ask this question: did the Dulles Era just end?