Dealing With The New Iranian Superpower
Three Rivers Press
On Sale: August 18, 2009
Trade Size (reprint)
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Over the past thirty years, while the United States has
turned either a blind or dismissive eye, Iran has emerged as
a nation every bit as capable of altering America’s destiny
as traditional superpowers Russia and China. Indeed, one of
this book’s central arguments is that, in some ways, Iran’s
grip on America’s future is even tighter.
operative Robert Baer masterfully shows, Iran has maneuvered
itself into the elite superpower ranks by exploiting
Americans’ false perceptions of what Iran is—by letting us
believe it is a country run by scowling religious fanatics,
too preoccupied with theocratic jostling and terrorist
agendas to strengthen its political and economic
The reality is much more frightening—and
yet contained in the potential catastrophe is an implicit
political response that, if we’re bold enough to adopt it,
could avert disaster.
Baer’s on-the-ground sleuthing
and interviews with key Middle East players—everyone from an
Iranian ayatollah to the king of Bahrain to the head of
Israel’s internal security—paint a picture of the
centuries-old Shia nation that is starkly the opposite of
the one normally drawn. For example, Iran’s hate-spouting
President Ahmadinejad is by no means the true spokesman for
Iranian foreign policy, nor is Iran making it the highest
priority to become a nuclear player.
Even so, Baer
has discovered that Iran is currently engaged in a soft
takeover of the Middle East, that the proxy method of
war-making and co-option it perfected with Hezbollah in
Lebanon is being exported throughout the region, that Iran
now controls asignificant portion of Iraq, that it is
extending its influence over Jordan and Egypt, that the Arab
Emirates and other Gulf States are being pulled into its
sphere, and that it will shortly have a firm hold on the
world’s oil spigot.
By mixing anecdotes with
information gleaned from clandestine sources, Baer superbly
demonstrates that Iran, far from being a wild-eyed rogue
state, is a rational actor—one skilled in the game of
nations and so effective at thwarting perceived Western
colonialism that even rival Sunnis relish fighting under its
For U.S. policy makers, the choices have
narrowed: either cede the world’s most important energy
corridors to a nation that can match us militarily with its
asymmetric capabilities (which include the use of suicide
bombers)—or deal with the devil we know. We might just find
that in allying with Iran, we’ll have increased not just our
own security but that of all Middle East nations.The
alternative—to continue goading Iran into establishing
hegemony over the Muslim world—is too chilling to contemplate.
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