Time To Quit Babysitting The Middle East?

In a long and wide-ranging interview with David Rothkopf, Zbigniew Brzezinski opines on how the US should engage the Middle East today:

I think the whole region now, in terms of the sectarian impulses and sectarian intolerance, is not a place in which America ought to try to be preeminent. I think we ought to pursue a policy in which we recognize the fact that the problems there are likely to persist and escalate and spread more widely. The two countries that will be most affected by these developments over time are China and Russia — because of their regional interests, vulnerabilities to terrorism, and strategic interests in global energy markets. And therefore it should be in their interest to work with us also, and we should be willing to play with them, but not assume sole responsibility for managing a region that we can neither control nor comprehend.

He also thinks it’s wiser to pursue accommodation with Iran than to continue treating it as a greater threat than it really is:

I see Iran as an authentic nation-state. And that authentic identity gives it cohesion, which most of the Middle East lacks. In that sense, it’s a more solidly defined state than, let’s say, Egypt, which is similar and — but doesn’t have yet authentic, real cohesion. The problem with the Iranian regime of course is, one, its unsettling effects on the Sunnis, particularly Saudi Arabia, and, secondly, its potential threat to Israel.

The question is, how do you best solve that? I certainly don’t accept the notion that the best solution is all options are on the table, which is the politest way of saying we’re going to go to war if we don’t solve the nuclear problem quickly. The fact of the matter is Israel has an effective nuclear monopoly in the region, and it will have that for a long time. And one thing that the Iranians are certain not to do is to undertake some suicidal mission the moment they have one bomb. So the notion that’s been publicized in America that there could be a crazy Iranian rush to have the bomb in nine months is, to me, meaningless.