Iran Outsmarting US in New Cold War in Mideast

America is too dumb, weak right now to counter, Friedman says
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2008 12:02 PM CDT
An Iranian protestor holds a poster of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nsarallah in a protest over Israel's 60th anniversary, in front of the British Embassy in Tehran.   (AP Photo/Vahid e British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, MSalemi)
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(Newser) – The new cold war is being waged between America and Iran, and Iran is winning hands down, Thomas L Friedman writes in the New York Times. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nation has built up influence from Iraq to Lebanon, with power over Iraq's prime minister, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other militias—and a complicated set of safeguards against attack.

One former negotiator notes that after failed attempts at peace by Bill Clinton and disastrous attempts at war by George W. Bush, America is "trapped in a region which it cannot fix and it cannot abandon.” So the question for the next president is not whether to talk with Iran, but how to get the leverage needed to make such a conversation productive.