Good Reads: From an Iran negotiator, to press freedom, to Amazon’s rise
This week's roundup of Good Reads includes a profile of Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman, freedom of the press and the White House, today's lessons from the working relationship between President Reagan and Tip O'Neill, a profile of Amazon's founder, and how Life magazine came to have the photos of JFK's assassination.
When the United States begins talks with Iran over the future of its nuclear program in November, the lead US negotiator will be Wendy Sherman, a former social worker and Democratic political activist profiled by Yochi Dreazen in Foreign Policy.Skip to next paragraph
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Cook is senior editor and Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor and host of the Monitor's newsmaker breakfasts.
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“Sherman faces the extraordinarily difficult task of determining whether the moderate tone of Iran’s new leader, Hasan Rouhani, means that Tehran is genuinely prepared to open its nuclear sites to international inspection and halt its enrichment of certain types of uranium or is simply trying to wring concessions from the West,” notes Mr. Dreazen.
To her role as undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Ms. Sherman brings experience from the 1990s negotiation with North Korea about limiting development and sale of its long-range missiles. That came after a stint running Maryland’s child welfare office and heading up Emily’s List, an organization that funds women running for office as pro-choice Democrats.
A ‘control freak’ administration
The Obama administration came to office proclaiming its commitment to transparency and accountability. But many journalists are alarmed by the White House’s efforts to curb the routine disclosure of information in the name of protecting national security, saying it hinders efforts to expose potential government misdeeds.
Former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. studied the Obama administration’s relations with the press for the Committee to Protect Journalists and wrote about his findings in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post. Given the Obama administration’s use of the 1917 Espionage Act to identify and prosecute government officials who talk to reporters, “journalists who cover national security are facing vast and unprecedented challenges in their efforts to hold the government accountable to its citizens,” Mr. Downie writes. “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I have covered,” David Sanger, a 20-year veteran of The New York Times, told Downie.
Lessons from Reagan and O’Neill
The ugly process leading to a temporary deal in Congress to fund the government and raise the nation’s debt ceiling prompted Charlie Cook (no relation), a respected nonpartisan political analyst, to analyze in the National Journal what has changed in Washington since Republican Ronald Reagan was in the White House and Democrat Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill was speaker of the House.