Saturday, August 26, 2006

Amy Gahran, Journalist

I've subscribed to various Poynter Online pages and this morning I found an interesting piece by Amy Gahran in my inbox.

It's titled Get To Know Iran Via Blogs

On Aug. 23, Chatham House (a leading U.K. think tank on international affairs) published an intriguing assessment of the current and future role of Iran in the Middle East. The report, "Iran, Its Neighbours, and the Regional Crises" ( pdf download , Press Release) faults the U.S. for misapplied power:

"On hostility with the US, the report argues that while the US may have the upper hand in 'hard' power projection, Iran has proved far more effective through its use of 'soft' power. ...The Bush administration has shown little ability to use politics and culture to pursue its strategic interests."

Report contributor Ali Ansari, interviewed this morning on NPR's Morning Edition, noted: "Western policy towards the Middle East shows a complete lack of imagination. There is a world of opportunities between neglect and military action which has yet to be fully explored."

I was particularly struck by this perspective because I've recently started reading a fascinating new book, We Are Iran: The Persian Blogs, by Nasrin Alavi. It's a compilation of poignant entries from Iranian blogs, mostly translated from Farsi. Reading them, I see a stunning thoughtfulness and diversity -- as well as deep insight into world affairs, and hope for the future.

Amy also writes an interesting blog called Contentious .


paris parfait said...

Thanks for the links. Yes, the US policy vis a vis Iran and the Middle East in general is sorely uninspiring. In other words, the people in the White House are over-riding the smarter, better-informed people at the State Department, who do have a clue about the region. Sigh.

woman wandering said...

I almost wrote a seperate post on Chatham House, it seems like an interesting place.

Ah the White House...what can be said these days.