Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is a foreign policy analyst and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

BUT THERE'S ONE THING I KNOW, EVEN THOUGH I'M YOUNGER THAN YOU.

While I'm glad that the conclusions of the newly released NIE have pushed the prospect of an inevitably disastrous Iran invasion substantially farther off the table for now, I think we're still left with very serious questions both about the brazenly dishonest process by which the President, the Vice-President, and their apparatchiks were clearly trying to build support for war with Iran based on a nuclear threat which we know now they knew to be nonexistent, and about the ideology which underpinned this effort. To build on what Rob said , I think that perhaps the most important determination of the NIE is that Iran's "decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs." That is, despite some high-flown Iranian rhetoric (and decades-old Khomeini quotes of dubious provenance ) Iran's behavior indicates that it is taking a rational, pragmatic approach to its role as regional hegemon. It is clearly not...

NIE: IRAN NOT DEAD SET ON IGNITING APOCALYPSE.

Interesting : A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb. [...] The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran’s ultimate intentions about gaining a nuclear weapon remain unclear, but that Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs. Brad Plumer directs us to this story by Gareth Porter , detailing how Vice-President Cheney 's office held up the release of the NIE for over a year because its conclusions conflicted with Cheney's goal of ginning up a war with Iran. --Matthew Duss

AS IF TO EXHUME PARODY, STRANGLE IT WITH PIANO WIRE, AND REBURY IT.

Scolding Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for what he considers unacceptably conciliatory rhetoric at last week's peace conference, Commentary's Eric Trager suspects the source of Olmert's outrageous moral unclarity: Jimmy Carter 's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and Mearsheimer and Walt 's The Israel Lobby and U.S Foreign Policy : "[W]hile the American Jewish community was busy debating whether these authors were anti-Semitic, conspiratorial, or simply misguided, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was apparently leafing through the two bestselling tomes for sound-bite material. Consider Olmert’s bizarre press statements following last week’s Annapolis Conference, in which he framed his pursuit of negotiations with terms perfectly agreeable to Carter, Walt, and Mearsheimer. [...] Olmert is going to have to learn to better represent Israelis and more effectively address Palestinians if forthcoming negotiations are to have any chance. On the other hand, in case negotiations fail,...

DEFENDING JOURNALISTIC MALPRACTICE WITH COLONIAL-ERA RACISM.

I hope you're enjoying the NROBS saga as much as I am. If not, go read about it . Tom Edsall has done some great work here. ( Greenwald and Sullivan also have some good follow-up .) In what I can only hope will come to be remembered as the most regretted post of her career, editor Kathryn Jean Lopez sort-of apologizes for W. Thomas Smith 's fabrications with an appeal to the bigotry of National Review 's readership. The Arab, you see, is very crafty: "[W]e “should have provided readers with more context and caveats” – the context that Smith was operating in an uncertain environment where he couldn’t always be sure of what he was witnessing, and the caveats that he filled in the gaps by talking to sources within the Cedar Revolution movement and the Lebanese national-security apparatus, whose claims obviously should have been been treated with the same degree of skepticism as those of anyone with an agenda to advance. As one of our sources put it: “ The Arab tendency to lie and...

ENGAGEMENT: PEOPLE LIKE IT.

I just got back from a CMEP-sponsored panel on Annapolis and what it all means, and though there were differing views on where things would go from here, all the panelists were unanimous in their relief and enthusiasm for renewed U.S. engagement in the process. Daniel Levy , who was one of today's panelists, wrote this last Tuesday: "The Bush administration continues to view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of a global war on terrorism and as part of the momentous struggle of good against evil. The great irony of the Annapolis conference is that the framing narrative of its convener is the one thing that most undermines its chances of success. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is grievance-driven and its resolution is all about ending the occupation. Israel needs and deserves security and peace but those things don't coexist cozily with occupation. Violent al-Qaidists and their copycat crews use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to rally and mobilise support, to vilify...

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