Iran's nuclear gambit rumbles on, with an emergency meeting of the IAEA now scheduled for February 2. Efforts by Tehran to avoid referral to the UN Security Council are being rebuffed by Europe and the United States, who meanwhile are seeking to assure a nervous Russia that no confrontation is imminent.
At this point in time, given the current Iranian leadership, the state of Iranian public opinion, and Iranian economic conditions, relying on unilateral economic leverage to obtain a better deal is an illusion, argues Miles Kahler. More likely it would drive Iran further in the direction of North Korea—an unrestrained nuclear program and an economically isolated, unreformed regime.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams explains that the Obama administration’s hopes of rapprochement and a nuclear agreement with Iran led it to overlook the consequences of empowering the regime in Teheran at the expense of the Iranian people.
Reading the 150-page agreement with Iran takes less time than one might have anticipated, because it isn’t really a 150-page agreement. Why not? Because roughly 60 pages consist of lists — lists of all the sanctioned entities that will henceforth have sanctions lifted.
The numerous concessions to Iran in the framework agreement means that the Islamic Republic should be able to manufacture bombs on short notice after the sunset clause expires, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Nevertheless, the Iran deal is not beyond repair and the United States needs to address the deficiencies of the accord in the coming months to close all remaining holes.
In article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams discusses the dangers that may result when diplomats become more concerned about their personal relationships with charming colleagues than about the nature of the regimes those colleagues (such as Iranian foreign minister Zarif) represent.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams discusses Iran’s transformation into a "front line state" against Israel. This turn of events alarms Israelis and Arabs alike, but not nearly so much as another fact: that Iran's expansionism and military adventurism are being met with approval from the Obama administration.
With Ayatollah Khamenei set to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a "fawning admirer" of his choosing, Ahmadinejad may be missed for his ability to challenge the Islamic Republic's ruling religious hierarchy.
In the past, U.S. officials have been less than eager to define a specific redline for the Iranian threat. While setting a March deadline could provide more certainty and coercive leverage to compel Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, it also places U.S. "credibility" on the line, says Micah Zenko.
Matthew C. Waxman argues that international law still plays a powerful role in justifying or delegitimizing the case for military action. Just like in the Cuban missile crisis, the United States needs to present a plausible case for self-defense in order to strike Iran.
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The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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