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13/ian/2010 EURAST recomandă: Z. Brzezinski face analiza geopolitică apoliticii externe a a primului an de mandat Obama (3/6). SUA şi provocarea Iranului

(În ultimul număr (ianuarie-februarie 2010 al revistei Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski (consilier de securitate al preşedinţilor SUA între 1977 şi 1981) face un bilanţ al primului an al administraţiei Barack Obama din punctul de vedere al liniilor de politică externă urmărite. Vom relua aici acest text în integralitate, în serial. Astăzi, despre relaţiile SUA cu Iranul – EURAST)


From Hope to Audacity

Appraising Obama’s Foreign Policy (III)

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Foreign Affairs /// January/February 2010


Another urgent and potentially very dangerous challenge, with similarly huge stakes, is confronting Obama in Iran. It involves the true character of the Iranian nuclear program and Iran’s role in the region. Obama has been determined to explore the path of serious negotiations with Iran despite domestic (and some foreign) agitation and even some opposition within the second echelon of his team. Without quite saying so, he has basically downgraded the U.S. military option, although it is still fashionable to say that „all options remain on the table.” But the prospects for a successful negotiation are still quite uncertain.

Two fundamental questions complicate the situation. First, are the Iranians willing to negotiate – or even capable of doing so – seriously? The United States has to be realistic when discussing this aspect, since the clock cannot be turned back: the Iranians have the capability to enrich uranium, and they are not going to give it up. But it is still possible, perhaps through a more intrusive inspection regime, to fashion a reasonably credible arrangement that prevents weaponization. Nonetheless, even if the United States and its partners approach the negotiations with a constructive mindset, the Iranians themselves may scuttle any serious prospects for a positive outcome. Already, at the outset of the negotiating process, Iran’s credibility was undermined by the convoluted manner in which Tehran complicated a promising compromise for a cooperative Iranian-Russian-French arrangement for processing its enriched uranium.

Second, is Washington willing to engage in negotiations with some degree of patience and with sensitivity to the mentality of the other side? It would not be conducive to serious negotiations if the United States were to persist in publicly labeling Iran as a terrorist state, as a state that is not to be trusted, as a state against which sanctions or even a military option should be prepared. Doing that would simply play into the hands of the most hard-line elements in Iran. It would facilitate their appeal to Iranian nationalism, and it would narrow the cleavage that has recently emerged in Iran between those who desire a more liberal regime and those who seek to perpetuate a fanatical dictatorship.

These points must be borne in mind if and when additional sanctions become necessary. Care should be taken to make certain that the sanctions are politically intelligent and that they isolate the regime rather than unify all Iranians. Sanctions must punish those in power – not the Iranian middle class, as an embargo on gasoline would do. The unintended result of imposing indiscriminately crippling sanctions would likely be to give the Iranians the impression that the United States’ real objective is to prevent their country from acquiring even a peaceful nuclear program – and that, in turn, would fuel nationalism and outrage.

Sanctions against Iran must punish those in power – not the middle class, as an embargo on gasoline would do. Moreover, even the adoption of politically discriminating sanctions is likely to be complicated by international constraints. China, given its dependence on Middle Eastern (and particularly Iranian) oil, fears the consequences of a sharpened crisis. The position of Russia is ambiguous since as a major energy supplier to Europe, it stands to benefit financially from a prolonged crisis in the Persian Gulf that would prevent the entrance of Iranian oil into the European market. Indeed, from the Russian geopolitical perspective, a steep rise in the price of oil as a result of a conflict in the Persian Gulf would be most economically damaging to the United States and China – countries whose global preeminence Russia tends to resent and even fear – and would make Europe even more dependent on Russian energy.

Throughout this complicated process, firm presidential leadership will be required. That is particularly so because of the presence of influential voices in the United States, both inside and outside the administration, in favor of a negotiating process that minimizes the possibility of a reasonable compromise. Prior to joining the administration, some senior second-level officials seemed to favor policies designed to force an early confrontation with Iran and even advocated joint military consultations with Israel regarding the use of force. The somewhat sensationalized manner in which the administration revealed in late September that it had been aware for months of the secret Iranian nuclear facility near Qom suggests internal disagreements over tactics.

Ultimately, a larger strategic question is at stake: Should the United States’ long-term goal be the evolution of Iran into a stabilizing power in the Middle East? To state the issue even more sharply and simply: Should its policy be designed to encourage Iran to eventually become a partner of the United States again – and even, as it was for three decades, of Israel? The wider the agenda – one that addressed regional security issues, potential economic cooperation, and so on – the greater the possibility of finding acceptable quid pro quos. Or should Iran be treated as if it is fated to remain a hostile and destabilizing power in an already vulnerable region?

As of this writing, an acceptable outcome to the negotiations is obviously still very much in doubt. Assuming they are not aborted, by early 2010 it may be possible to make a calmly calculated judgment as to whether the talks are worth continuing or whether there in fact is no room for reciprocal compromises. At that point, politically intelligent sanctions may become timely. So far, Obama has shown that he is aware of the need to combine strategic firmness with tactical flexibility; he is patiently exploring whether diplomacy can lead to an accommodation. He has avoided any explicit commitment to a precise deadline (unlike France’s grandstanding in favor of a December date), and he has not engaged in explicit threats of military action.

Those advocating a tougher stance should remember that the United States would bear the brunt of the painful consequences in the event of an attack on Iran, whether the United States or Israel launched it. Iran would likely target U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, possibly destabilizing both countries; the Strait of Hormuz could become a blazing war zone; and Americans would again pay steep prices at the gas pump. Iran is an issue regarding which, above all, Obama must trust himself to lead and not to be led. So far, he has done so.


13 ianuarie 2010 Posted by | Bibliografii, Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu