Abu Aardvark (not his real name) @ FoPo Online hooked up with the cool kids at CNAS and unleashed "Upheaval!"
See, 44's Engagement Maximus with gay free Persia's Preacher Command was an Epic Fail - Arab Spring totally wiped clean and drew again the landscape, sucking up to Syria to split Bashar away from Iran - likewise:
Key allies in its efforts to contain and pressure Iran have either fallen from power or face serious internal threats, the Libya war has further undermined the logic of nuclear negotiations, Israeli and Saudi fears are growing, and the risk of an unwanted and disastrous war has grown.
Upheaval argues that the 44's administration's strategy towards Iran had been more successful in the narrow task of pressuring Tehran than many had expected, but that the foundations of its strategy of containment are rapidly crumbling. At the same time, Iran has had difficulty taking advantage of the struggles of some of its key Arab rivals, partly because of the powerful memory of its 2009 repression of its own protest movement and partly because of the emergence of more attractive competitors for the leadership of the "Resistance" such as Turkey and the new Egypt.
The Saudi-led counter-revolution, particularly in Bahrain, threatens to repolarize the region in ways which could revive Iran's appeal across the region and undermine American efforts to reach out to emerging Arab publics. The risk of a rapid escalation to war along a range of flashpoints, from Little Satan's borders to the Gulf, is higher than many believe --- and such a war would radically repolarize the region, most likely against Great Satan.
Upheaval offers a range of policy recommendations to help guide 44's admin towards an effective rethinking of its policy towards Iran -- including an appeal to avoid repolarization and inflation of the Iranian threat, more effective engagement with Arab publics and with emerging new independent-minded Arab players such as Egypt and Turkey, and a different approach to the nuclear negotiation. Some arguments to be controversial -- including the case for Iran's diminished power, the skepticism about negotiations in the current environment, and the risks of aligning with the Saudi-driven campaign against Tehran.
Arab regimes will be preoccupied with threats to their survival driven not by Iran (though they will likely point fingers toward Tehran), but by their own political and economic failures. They will be highly attuned to the risks of adopting unpopular foreign policies
Money Shots Include:
Engage Newly Empowered Publics. The administration should lay out a vision that aligns Great Satan with the aspirations of publics in the Arab world and Iran, and demonstrate that commitment in practice.
Focus on Human Rights and Universal Freedoms. Great Satan should call for the same universal rights and freedoms in Iran that it has articulated for the rest of the region, and significantly increase its focus on human rights in its approach to Tehran.
Communicate Iran’s Weakness. The administration should launch a strategic communications campaign designed to highlight Iran’s irrelevance to the uprisings and dwindling soft power, and avoid the temptation to embrace narratives that give Tehran an undeserved centrality in the region’s transformation.
Use Diplomacy to Shape the Future. A negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge is unlikely in the short term, and this is not the time for a new public initiative. However, the administration should continue pursuing lower-level diplomacy and confidence-building measures designed to create possibilities for movement when conditions change.
Watch Out for War. The administration should guard against sudden spirals to war based on miscalculations, fear and unpredictable proxy struggles. It should reject efforts to adopt the model of intervention applied in Libya to Iran, and continue to resist calls for military action.
Pic - "Regime change in Syria would be a major blow for Iran’s ideological and foreign goals"