Sunday, November 24, 2013

Power of the New Media

Consider this from Uri Friedman at The Atlantic:

In 2003, Javad Zarif outlined a plan for rapprochement with the United States by helping draft a document that was then handed over to the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who then handed it over to the Swiss foreign ministry, which then faxed the document to the U.S. State Department, where the roadmap was then circulated among Bush administration officials and eventually filed away, without ever being made public.

Ten years later, Zarif simply uploaded this video to YouTube.

Amazing! 10 years ago, Zarif couldn't get this message out into any form of broad distribution. Now he can. That's a big change, due to the new social media.

Whether you believe his story is the second question - one you can't get to if you never get the message.

I actually believe Zarif: Iran wants its dignity respected, and feels it would be undignified, as well as completely unfair, for them to have to give up their nuclear aspirations. Will they keep it peaceful? I think so, but like Secretary Kerry, we need a bulletproof mechanism to know that they are doing so.

In five years time, I predict that Iran will be emerging as a reasonably reliable player, working most of the time with the US in the Middle East region. They will have pulled back from supporting Hamas and Hezbollah. Israel and the Palestinians will have made peace. The Sunni-Shia divide will have settled back from stark divide and sectarian conflict to a more comfortable and predictable balancing of power interests. Iran's trade with the West will be booming, and US tourism into Iran will have grown leaps and bounds.

 Iranians are an energetic, cultured people with an extraordinarily rich civilization and history. We must keep our eyes wide open, but I predict they will grow to be friends with the US.

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