“The Bitter Taste of Hope” is the latest book by Stephen Eric Bronner, a Distinguished Professor of the Rutgers University in New Brunswick. It was published in April 2017 by the State University of New York Press.
Dedicated to Rosalyn Baxandall, the late American historian of women's activists called by Prof Bronner a “comrade”, the collection of essays and interviews is about what the author describes as not the life of the then-President Barack Obama but “ideals, ideologies and interests in the age of Obama” and the practices and policies that “congealed during the years of his presidency.”
Stephen Eric Bronner is Board of Governors Professor of Political Science and Director of Global Relations at the Centre for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights at Rutgers University.
He is also a member of Executive Committee of the UNESCO Chair for Genocide Prevention. In 2014, I had the chance to do a brief interview with Prof Bronner on his visit to Iran as part of a goodwill delegation called “Academics for Peace” trying to bring the academics of the two countries and two nations closer to each other. The full text of that interview is printed in “The Bitter Taste of Hope”, covering pages 151-160.
Iran and the United States have been through a long period of tumultuous and unpredictable relations. In 1977, then-President Jimmy Carter referred to Iran as an “Island of Stability”. Two years later, a popular movement led by the spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toppled the US-backed Shah and ushered in a new era of animosity between the two close allies.
Following the 1979 Revolution, which technically put an end to decades of amicable relations, the 1979-81 “hostage crisis” laid the groundwork for a four-decade period of animosity which hasn’t mitigated with Trump’s unrelenting aggression against the Iran Deal since he came to office in January 2017. On 7th of April 1980, the United States officially cut off diplomatic relations with Iran.
In the absence of bilateral ties, Iranian and American academics and journalists try to maintain the links of friendship between the two people by paying goodwill visits, traveling, giving talks and publishing articles, books, among others!
Prof Bronner sent me an autographed copy of his book, which I collected in my letterbox yesterday!