I like The Atlantic Monthly, I really do. They generally provide excellent in-depth reporting, while Andrew Sullivan and Ta-Nehisi Coates are some of the better bloggers out there. Hell, I can even stomach Christopher Hitchens when he's sticking to literary criticism.
These positive traits usually manage to overcome some of the dumber center-right screeds the magazine is prone to publishing, or the asides like "at my elite English boarding school" that their lesser lights are prone to throwing in, just to remind you of the upper-class blinders that lead to many of The Atlantic's worst moments.
In short, Goldberg's proposal is that Iran could save the Middle East by being the next bogeyman, because fear of it might drive Sunnis, Israel and the United States together against a common foe. That's unlikely, sure, but it's exactly the sort of "grand" idea clueless political hacks could do a lot of damage by embracing. Remember "they'll welcome us as liberators?" Hell, remember Mossadegh?
Furthermore, recent events in Iran have put the lie to it. Look at the above picture and the crowds that have come out asking for democracy and better relations with the world. These are the big enemy? That's who we're supposed to re-align the Middle East to fight? Bullshit.
Much disaster has been caused over the years, especially in the realm of foreign policy, by viewing the world as a chessboard: with monolithic blocks of nations and peoples that can be moved around to some greater goal that never seems to arrive. When the countries crack open, when they inevitably prove to be not monolithic at all, but complicated and dynamic, bristling with corners and contradictions, the august sages get to throw up their hands, write a mea culpa and hit the lecture circuit. Pundits will nod gravely, then praise them for their humility and gravitas.
It's sickening to count the number of democratic movements crushed over the years because they happened to fall on the wrong side of some legacy-hound's power calculus.
Most of what happens along the way is blood, death and ash, savaging innocents because they're assumed to have no identity besides wherever their government might stand at the moment.
Stupid, delusional and disastrous. You want a big idea? Let's cut this shit out. Let's find ways to interact with the world that don't blow up in our faces every few years. And let's start with the Middle East.