'All Sticks and No Carrots'

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Many foreign policy experts and investigative journalists have said that they hear a drumbeat, getting louder and louder, signaling the Bush administration's eagerness to attack Iran. Flynt Leverett and his wife, Hillary Mann, are among them. For several years, they worked as advisers to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Shortly after the United States attacked Iraq, they resigned. Since then, they've sounded a clarion call, to the chagrin of an administration that has tried to silence them. Last year, when Leverett and Mann wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times, the Central Intelligence Agency's Publications Review Board forced them to redact 168 words. (They wrote a complement to that article, with public sources for the redacted material).

In a new piece, published in Esquire magazine, John H. Richardson chronicles the couple's disillusionment and growing desperation. They argue that the administration was not, and is not, interested in diplomacy. According to Richardson, Leverett and Mann believe that "America's approach to rogue nations was all sticks and no carrots, all economic sanctions and threats of war without any dialogue." Leverett joins us today, in the first hour, to talk about Iran. Can you hear that drumbeat? Should Iran be allowed to pursue a nuclear program? Are strikes inevitable?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

What can an average citizen do to stop us from bombing/attacking Iran? I'm against this idea totally but feel that no one would listen to me as none of my congressmen listened when I opposed Iraq.

Sent by Kristin Whitaker | 2:49 PM | 10-25-2007

Hey, Neil! You gave 8 minutes to Iran but are giving a whole half hour to "identical twins separated at birth?" Maybe you should get your priorities straight!

It needs to be said that even if the presidency does change parties, as it likely will with the election of Hillary Clinton, our course will not change. With people like Mark Penn, the CEO of Burson-Marsteller, who also represents BLACKWATER as her chief strategist, with her increasingly hawkish rhetoric, with her constant talk about "the table!" "We're not taking any options off the table," day in and day out.

Our diplomacy with Iran is fundamentally broken. "All Sticks and No Carrots" is an excellent way to describe it. Your guest was absolutely right in saying our diplomacy was designed to fail.

Sent by David | 3:27 PM | 10-25-2007

Protest, fill the streets, carry signs, civil disobedience, revive 1968. There are many protests scheduled for this Saturday. Google: protest 10/27

Sent by Brian Rasche | 6:29 PM | 10-25-2007

It seems to me that the only people who are pushing this "war with Iran" scenario have very few facts and lots of heresay and unnamed sources. It seemed to me Vladimir Putin was being cited as a reasonable voice in the region. Anna Politskova thought different. How about a little balance?

Sent by Carl Van Walleghem | 7:21 PM | 10-25-2007

The purpose of the Bush Administration, from the beginning has been to fulfill the Biblical prophesy in the Book of Revelation of Armageddon triggered by conflict in the very same region now occupied by Iraq and Iran. Their hope is that the Armageddon results in the prophesied "Rapture", which whisks away all "True Believers" to Heaven, and rains retribution on all the rest of us, whom the Administration see as their enemies.

Sent by Bill | 10:20 PM | 10-26-2007

You folks at NPR, apparently in an effort to be "fair and balanced", speak in such dulcet tones about totally heinous things, like the Bush Administration trying to get us into another preemptive war of choice, this one in Iran. It is NOT "balanced" to give equal weight to all sides of an issue when one side is patently WRONG.

Sent by Bill | 1:11 PM | 10-27-2007

Carl. Fact, the Bush Administration is trying to declare the ruling party of Iran as a terrorist organization. Fact, the president refuses to even talk with Iran. Fact, weapons of mass destruction still haven't been found in Iraq yet now we KNOW that Iran is on the brink of having them -fool me once. But fool us twice? Fact, we are imposing sanctions on Iran. Fact, the rest of the world is declaring the Bush administration as being belligerent and rogue. Come on man! What does this indicate to you?

Bill. Fox news declares itself to be fair and balanced which it so obviously is not. NPR claims to be journalists. Let me ask you this Bill. If you want all sides to be expressed then why are you trying to silence one of the few outlets that are saying.. hey??? are we gearing up for war with Iran against our will? Furthermore, instead of waiting until it's too late is it not our right as American citizens to say: It looks like you're taking us into Iran against our will Mr. President, I want you to stop this right now.

If, as you suggest, the Bush administration is not gearing up for a war with Iran then I'm glad you were right BUT I believe even the possibility of stretching our military thinner, costing us billions more, costing us more death and destruction, and lose the last shred of moral authority we have in the world, then I think we should at the VERY LEAST allow this discussion to happen. What logical or moral reason do you have to oppose at least a discussion of this possibility??

Sent by Joe Szymczak | 8:52 AM | 10-29-2007

I didn't mean that the Bush insanity shouldn't get it's side (if it has one) discussed, but for NPR air a case for getting the country into another Bush-war as being as sane as NOT allowing this incompetent Administration to get away with such a thing is NOT "balanced"

Sent by Bill | 5:59 PM | 10-29-2007

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