… is here. Also archived here.
Of course, the 1,200-word format is ways too short to give due consideration to all the actual and potential ripples from the recent crisis in Iran; and as it happened what I ended up giving shortest shrift to in the piece was the effects Iran’s internal crisis will inevitably have on the prospects for ramping down the still very dangerous confrontation between the US and Iran over Iran’s nuclear technology program.
So what the article dealt with mainly were the also very important arenas of Iraq, the balance in the Persian Gulf more generally, Arab-Israeli peacemaking, and Afghanistan.
On Gulf balance issues, I just went back and re-read this December 2003 JWN post, ‘Geopolitics of the Gulf 201’. It still looks pretty helpful today (along with its precursor, ‘Geopolitics of the Gulf 101‘.
I had written about the effects of the Iran crisis on the nuclear issue in this June 20 post on JWN. I see that Laura Rozen has a new post on her blog on (mainly) this topic. Hat-tip for that, btw, goes to the interesting new blog being produced by Trita Parsi’s National Iranian-American Council.
The bottom line from the ‘experts’ cited by Rozen on how the Iranian crisis will affect the prospects for Obama getting a negotiated resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue is really all over the place.
She quotes Parsi himself as saying,
- “It’s very tough for the president to engage in a serious manner within the next three-to six months because of how the Iranian government has been conducting itself… It’s politically far more difficult for him to pull this off,” than before the Iranian government crackdown on opposition supporters. “I’m not saying it’s impossible.”
Then she quotes Georgetown University’s Daniel Byman as saying,
- “Some people are more optimistic, some are less… To me, we can hope to have more leverage, but we could have less. My impression is, we were going to try [engagement]. If it didn’t work, we’d move on. We would not be naïve that it would work.”
That is a fascinating quote, for two reasons. First, he is frank in admitting he does not know which way it will go. Second, what’s this thing about “moving on”? It strikes me that is almost certainly a reference to a plan that if the negotiations didn’t work the US would attack Iran militarily, or allow Israel to fire the first shot in that.
Anyway, I’ll try to get back to this topic more when I can.