"'Carrot and Stick' is the current diplomatic approach used by the U.S. Department of State regarding Iran. The term carrot and stick does not translate well in Persian. In fact, it portrays the image of a master standing in front of a donkey using carrots as a reward for appropriate behavior, and beatings when the donkey steps out of line as to teach a memorable lesson. For it is the donkey that is not smart enough to understand commands, nuance, altruism, and balance. Reward and punishment motivate the donkey to bend to its masters will. This is an offensive image in the mind of the Iranians, the descendants of the rich and advanced Persian culture. Cultural sensitivities aside, is the carrot and stick approach the proper one when dealing with the Iranians? It is not the carrot and stick analogy with all its simplicity that is most applicable, but tit for tat. Both sides have loosely followed tit for tat since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. What do the events of the past thirty-three years in which the U.S. and Iran have squared off in what David Crist titles a 'Twilight War' teach us about dealing with Iran tactically, operationally and strategically?"
MES [Middle East Studies] Monographs No. 5
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