By Daniel R. DePetris
If there is one word to best describe the U.S.-Iran relationship at the present moment, it is "tense." The two long-time adversaries are stuck in their respective corners, each doubling down on strategies of pressure and escalation in hopes of getting the other to blink first. Recent attempts at dialogue have functioned less as a genuine attempt at resolving disputes and more as a signal to win the war of perception.
De-escalation, of course, is exactly what is required. The situation as it now exists, with the U.S. and Iran shooting down one another's drones and sending military signals of a prolonged standoff, is unsustainable and dangerous. Neither the United States, Iran, nor neighboring countries in the Middle East would benefit from a miscalculation turning into a major confrontation. This is why French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to invite Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif to France last weekend—while world leaders were meeting in the same seaside town for the G-7—was wise. Searching for a diplomatic off-ramp before the situation becomes unsalvageable should be a top priority.
This piece was originally published by Newsweek on August 27, 2019. Read more HERE.