Mann Leverett: Obama ‘Is Bringing Iran Into the Axis of Normal’

‘—Rather than trying to bomb them into oblivion’

HARRIS-PERRY: "Hillary, let me take seriously the idea that in our very divided kind of political moment we can be looking at foreign policy decisions and they can feel like a kind of rorschach test. I have two Republicans sitting on the panel and they’re having different reactions. I have to say, I think we deeply care about the question of American security as well as overall sort of international security global protection. So how can we judge outside of that kind of ideological or partisan perspective whether or not a moment like this is in fact good for the U.S.?"
LEVERETT: "I was a career State Department foreign service officer loaned both to the Clinton administration in its early years and loaned to the bush, George hw bush administration. I was there right after 9/11. I was there when President Obama designated, condemned Iran to be part of the axis of evil. The facts are, it didn’t work. We ended up in a dangerous occupation in Iraq that not only cost us over 5,000 American lives but a trillion dollars, it just failed. It’s really important to understand reality. To look at facts on the ground. Our situation in the Middle East became a tremendously — became a lot worse with military intervention. And what President Obama has done has given us some real payoff. Even though there seem to be fires in a lot of places in the Middle East, that is because of some other mistakes. Going into Libya. Trying to continue to militarize the conflict in Syria. What has worked is with Iran. Iran today which nobody could have envisioned a few years ago is the stable place in the Middle East. Is the most productive place for the United States to have a relationship with. It is vitally important wherever you are in the strategic, you know, on the political spectrum here in Washington to understand American interests. American interests are to have stability in that region, to have balance, not rely on our so-called allies like the Saudis but to have real balance. And the way you get that done is you recognize that Iran today, like China in the ‘70s that president Nixon, a Republican president, recognized about China. He was no lover of communism but he understood that leaving China to nest its — to nurse its wounds and its resentments on the world stage would be a disaster for the United States. So President Obama, like president Nixon with China, has understood that about Iran and instead of condemning Iran, continuing to condemn Iran as part of the axis of evil, I would say he’s bringing Iran into the axis of Normal. Rather than trying to bomb them into oblivion. Something that’s critically important."

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