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US at risk of 'sliding into war' with Iran

[ 2011-12-15 16:26]     字号 [] [] []  
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The United States appears headed on a collision course with Iran that could lead to a war with "disastrous" consequences, a former adviser to ex-president Jimmy Carter warned.

"We think we are going to avoid war by moving toward compulsion," Zbignew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to Carter in the late 1970s, told an audience at an Atlantic Council think tank event in Washington late on Tuesday.

"But the more you lean toward compulsion, the more the choice becomes war if it doesn't work. That narrows our options in a very dramatic way," said the former official, who remains an influential voice on US foreign policy.

Brzezinski said he was concerned about an escalation in "rhetoric", as the US approach to Iran's nuclear program appeared solely focused on forcing Teheran to comply with international demands, leaving Washington little flexibility.

"A lot of small decisions are being made which in the meantime narrow your freedom of choice in the future," he said.

Brzezinski warned repeatedly of his concerns that the US could stumble into a war with Iran.

"If we slide into a conflict with Iran, in this or that fashion, the consequences for us will be disastrous, disastrous on a massive scale and also globally at the same time," he said.

Brzezinski was in office in 1979 when US ally, the Shah of Iran, fell from power.

After the seizure of the US embassy in Iran and the taking of US hostages that same year,Brzezinski presided over a plan to rescue the captives but the military operation failed before it got off the ground.

Tensions have grown between Iran and the US in recent months as Washington has pushed for stricter sanctions to punish Teheran over its nuclear activities and amid speculation Israel may be weighing possible pre-emptive military action.

Tuesday's gathering featured four former national security advisers, including president Richard Nixon's powerful deputy Henry Kissinger.

(中国日报网英语点津 Rosy 编辑)

US at risk of 'sliding into war' with Iran

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US at risk of 'sliding into war' with Iran

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.