President Obama’s recent interview with NPR suggest that the US government is trying to get Iran by a soft policy of nudging and negotiation, but analyst like Jonathan Keller call this “detente” bragging and wishful thinking, it wont be possible to outwit the Iranian mullahs.
The strategy of the US government till now has been ineffectual. It contains a policy of rapprochement with Iran. The standoff with Iran prevents application of American power in the “Indo-Pacific”, and this seems to be the only reason why the administration is not playing hardball with Iran. This precludes only marginal reallocation of some naval resources.
Keller writes that Obama has some grand misconception that good relations with Iran would create “a kind of grand strategic realignment comparable to Nixon’s opening to China in the early seventies.” But Iran is hardly an economic titan and potential market like China. What China has to offer to the US during the Cold War is much more than any influence Iran can help the US with in the Middle East.
Iran has oil, and that’s about it. But with the shale oil boom in the US, and falling oil process, the US doesn’t even really need good terms with the state for oil. Delaying sanctions to limit or end the Iranian nuclear program does the US no good.
Keller takes the analysis even one step further. He says, “Obama’s appeasement of the regime has already almost guaranteed a nuclear Iran — if they are not nuclear capable already.”
If the US is worried about the Islamic State being a treat, Keller only blames it on the US itself for mishandling the Syrian crisis and failing to secure a status-of-forces agreement with Iraq. Bad blood and bad policy in the region led to the rise of ISIS.
Keller is right in asserting that ISIS is a small bandit nation that threatens Iranian interests far more than American. US appeasement has nothing to do with Iran taking part in Iraq. Iran has its own designs in the region and will be part of the fray with or without American encouragement.
Future Iraq may well be divided up into ISIS and Shi’ite militias. Appeasing Iran will not bring stability to the Middle East at all. It only creates a new enemy at par with the Islamic State. The US has not had a comfortable history with Iran. If Iran comes into more power, it only spells more trouble for the US.
The US does not need to play this game at all… The US has better options available than appeasement.