A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report on
Forgive me, then, for pointing out that the debate I hear sounds pretty similar to how it did last week. The intelligence report will do little to change the position and strategy of the
In Washington, the real debate has long been between those who see some value in direct and immediate discussions with Tehran, and those who, like the administration, believe that engagement would be counterproductive, at least it if were pursued while Iran continues to enrich uranium. Military action has never been a significant near-term possibility, despite breathless media reports suggesting the contrary, while intensified sanctions, an administration priority, have long enjoyed bipartisan support.
The NIE presents no new evidence to dramatically tilt this debate. It finds that
Nor have the politics of the issue changed in a way that will have a big effect on
On the international scene, most of the status quo is also likely to persist.
Here the changes will be greater than elsewhere, but they will be less than most suppose. Europe, led by
And what of
To be sure, there have been surprising changes in the administration’s nuclear policies in the past. A sudden shift to intensive and constructive engagement with
MICHAEL LEVI, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author of the new book On Nuclear Terrorism.
By Michael Levi