A panel of foreign policy experts discussed the looming threat of a nuclear Iran and policy challenges that the United States continues to face in the coming year.
The panel, which was part of the Anti-Defamation League's annual leadership conference, included Woodrow Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar Aaron David Miller, American Enterprise Institute Vice President of Foreign Policy and Defense Studies Danielle Pletka and Director for the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy David Makovsky.
While discussion over the past two months has focused on how Israel or the U.S. could stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Miller noted that the only country to stop Iran from going nuclear is Iran itself.
"Only one country will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that is Iran...if they choose to base a policy on the cost of acquisition of a weapon being prohibitive," Miller said.
Makovsky highlighted the commonalities between the Israelis and Americans on Iran following President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting in March, while also noting that the gaps have not been closed between the two allies in potential policy solutions.
"The convergence was that the president said for the first time that containment will not work and that this is America's problem to deal with as well," Makovsky said. "The gaps are not closed because of the asymmetry in military capability between the United States and Israel...If you're not a superpower, you are more cognizant of the fact that your capabilities are not finite."
During her opening remarks, Pletka emphasized that it was important to look at Iran through the prism of the other policy challenges in the region, most notably Syria.
"We care about Syria because we care about Iran...Syria is Iran's most important ally," Pletka said. "If Assad falls that will be bad for Iran and it will be entirely isolated in the region. That seems to be a unique confluence of our moral interests and national interests."
Pletka added that it was important for the U.S. to take a role in the Syrian conflict, not necessarily placing troops on the ground, but acting as a facilitator for providing weapons to the Syrian Free Army and supporting the Syrian opposition.
In addition to the foreign policy panel, ADL participants were able to hear speeches from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was on hand Sunday night to receive the organization's William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award.
Nspolitano highlighted the work of ADL in partnering with law enforcement officials in keeping communities safe from potential hate crimes and other violence.
"Nonprofit organizations, such as the ADL, help in this effort by providing invaluable training to thousands of law enforcement officers on how to identify early signs of violent extremism," Napolitano said as referenced in ADL's press release.
Furthermore, Steven Simon, the current National Security Council Director for Middle East and North Africa gave opening remarks to the conference's morning session on Monday.