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"It Plays Well in Tel Aviv, But How Does It Play in Peoria?"

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz announce the new coalition government, in Jerusalem, May 8, 2012. Netanyahu unveiled a revamped coalition government that could free his hand to decide whether to attack Iran.
AP Photo

"It Plays Well in Tel Aviv, But How Does It Play in Peoria?"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

May 21, 2012

Author: Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security


As an inveterate reader of the New York Times, I woke up on the morning of May 18th to learn that planning for an attack on Iran has been done already. And the implication was that planning has been done between the United States and Israel. How else are we to interpret the words of Dan Shapiro, the American Ambassador to Israel:

"It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force. But that doesn't mean that option is not fully available. And not just available, but it's ready. The necessary planning has been done to assure that it's ready."

According to the New York Times, Ambassador Shapiro delivered these words at a meeting of the Israeli Bar Association on May 15th.

Americans obviously must now face the possibility of, in seriatim, a war against yet another Muslim country, despite the demonstrated fact that the majority of the American population would not relish such a development.

The public rhetoric in Washington continues to urge restraint, including President Obama's admonition against "loose talk of war."

Invariably, Iranians in and around the academic pressure cooker of Cambridge, Mass. will tell you that the one thing that will not work on the Iranian psyche is threatening language. This may or may not be true. Perhaps we will find out on May 23rd, when the Iranians meet in Baghdad with the West, the Chinese and the Russians on Iran's nuclear program.

But there is one certitude: the Iranians are obsessed with the possibility of another U.S.-attempted regime change. The example of the overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadegh government in 1953, which the Iranians see as the first and most egregious of a number of U.S. interventions, may mean nothing to current American policymakers, but it means everything to the Iranians.

N.B. "Will it Play in Peoria?" is a saying that is traditionally used to ask whether a given product, person, promotional theme or event will appeal to mainstream (aka Main Street) America...(Wikipedia).


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For Academic Citation:

Cogan, Dr. Charles G. "It Plays Well in Tel Aviv, But How Does It Play in Peoria?" The Huffington Post, May 21, 2012.

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