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A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran Hardcover – January 24, 2012
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“With the eye of a Washington insider, Trita Parsi assembles all the pieces of this complex puzzle in an original and persuasive way. I am aware of no one who has subjected the Obama administration’s policy on Iran to this kind of sustained scrutiny. Parsi displays a nuanced understanding of the historical context and an exceptionally fine-tuned appreciation for the political conditions and vulnerabilities of both Iran and the United States.”—Gary Sick, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs
“If you want to know the whole truth about how the Obama administration deals with Iran, read this pathbreaking book. Parsi shatters the myth that nuclear diplomacy with Iran is exhausted; it has yet to be genuinely tried.”—R.K. Ramazani, Edward R. Stettinius Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia (R.K. Ramazani)
“Trita Parsi’s gripping account is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the human details of recent diplomacy. Parsi recounts it all—the misunderstandings, the fears, the prejudices, the ambitions, and the misreading—that have hobbled American efforts to end three decades of futility with Iran.”—John Limbert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under the Obama administration (John Limbert)
In this illuminating book, Trita Parsi uncovers the full details of the diplomatic encounters between Washington and Tehran during Obama's early presidency, then discusses whether diplomacy should be the foreign policy approach of choice for the U.S.
Top customer reviews
Parsi has done a marvelous job of documenting the 2003-2012 period in US-Iranian diplomacy. Nearly every source is cited (something shamefully rare in political writing these days), and he is able to provide solid interpretations and insight into the specific actions of the major players in mid-east diplomacy.
The only area Parsi seems weak is in his general analysis of the region. Here, he too often paints Iran as a victim, and occasionally draws conclusions that seem quite subjective. This isn't to say that Iran has never been victimized by US policy/diplomacy, merely that Parsi seems too ready to declare absolutes in murky waters.
Other than that one minor criticism, this book is excellent, and is highly recommended. Read it for its factual accounting and wonderful primary sources, and overlook Parsi's occasional meandering.
Back in 2008, when Barack Obama was campaigning to be the 44th President of the United States, he made a solid commitment to engage with his nation's adversaries and enemies if and when he was elected to office. Diplomacy was the new way forward in dealing with the Iranian conundrum and it worked, at least at first. Obama was to find himself facing opposition from all angles, forcing through another series of sanctions against the nation he was originally aiming to create dialogue with.
This is a short but detailed book, Trita Parsi presents an easily readable account of where Obama failed in his diplomacy with Iran. A bright start was ultimately flawed by indecision, mistrust, domestic opposition (in Iran also), a lack of political will towards warmer relations, fraudulent elections and duplicitous allies reheating old ideas. And that is where Parsi hits the nail on the head; a lack of political will in both the United States and Iran to engage in diplomacy and revert to the reassuring feeling of entrenched animosity, dominated this latest attempt to end thirty years of distrust between the United States and Iran.
As Parsi rightly points out, this needs to change if any progress is to be made towards a reconciliation.