Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Proliferation News Blurb: America’s Iranian Strategy and A Critical View of U.S. Pakistan Relations

Posted by K.E. White on March 26, 2010

Politico and Foreign Policy offer must-read articles relating to American foreign policy.

Politico offers this editorial from Britain’s U.S. ambassador Nigel Sheinwald.  Sheinwald points out to positive factors in the U.S.-Iranian bargaining positions:  1) Since Obama’s election, international suspicion has shifted from U.S. motivations to Iran’s secretive ambitions, 2)  develops in Iraq have strengthened America’s bargaining hand (at least from its 2006 low point), 3)  that Iran’s internal strife has diplomatically isolated the nation.

But can economic sanctions—and not a more aggressive option—deter Iran from the bomb?  From Sheinwald’s article:

Third, economic pressures are increasing, as a result of years of mismanagement and the sanctions. The statistics are significant. Inflation is close to 20 percent. Iran’s oil production and exports both fell by 10 percent last year. Iran’s banks are feeling the heat of the sanctions, with huge reductions in foreign currency transfers.

All this has driven up the cost of imports by 25 percent. Iranian bazaaris — an important political class that allied with the clerics to bring down the shah — are bearing much of the cost.

We must not, of course, be complacent. Tehran remains defiant. But its discomfort is increasing.

In international relations, there are rarely overnight solutions to complex problems. But our long-term strategy of trying to alter fundamentally the cost-benefit equation for Iran remains the right approach. We still have time to increase the pressure — including the early adoption of sanctions — and bring Tehran to the negotiating table. The key — for all of us — is to use this time smartly.

One critique:  Sheinwald conveniently overlooks India and Pakistan’s nuclear trajectories.

And Foreign Policy offers a critical look at U.S.-Pakistan relations from a Pakastani journalist.  The main point:  Pakistan’s regime still fails its citizens.

From Huma Imtiaz’s article:

At the end of the day, even if the United States promises the moon (which it won’t), and even if the Pakistani government comes back empty handed, or laden with promises, the situation in Pakistan will remain the same. Even with a lull in recent terror attacks, Pakistanis are braced every single day for the worst to happen. The current electricity shortfall in the country is now at 5,000 megawatts, meaning electricity cuts off from anywhere between 4 – 12 hours a day. Prime Minister Gilani is promising the world to Pakistanis at the moment, saying the delegation will discuss everything from power plants to Afia Siddiqui’s case. The media wing of Pakistan’s army — the Inter Services Public Relations — sends daily dispatches reporting such events as: “X number of militants was killed in army operations in the tribal areas,” in an attempt to show that all is well in the country.

While this dialogue between the U.S. administration and the Pakistani government will surely continue, one wonders if all that is promised will be delivered. And with Pakistan’s current government’s record being so dismal on everything from implementing constitutional reforms to infrastructure development, it is highly likely that the Pakistan-U.S. talks will remain just that: talk.

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One Response to “Proliferation News Blurb: America’s Iranian Strategy and A Critical View of U.S. Pakistan Relations”

  1. Paulina said

    Online debate on India-Brazil- South Africa (IBSA) Policy Dialogue Forum
    In partnership with the Ideas for Development blog, the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) is launching an online debate that will contribute with inputs for the forthcoming IBSA Academic Forum, which will be hosted by IPC-IG on 12-13 April in Brasilia, Brazil.
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