With the United States and Iran reaching a nuclear deal this month, some have voiced concerns about whether the deal really has the ability to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In The National Interest, TCF's Lauren Sukin and Selim Can Sazak write that even if Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon, there would be little need to worry:
Even today, Iran is already overstretched in terms of both funding and military resources—it has no incentive to provoke yet another fight. No matter the strategic relevance of its current wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, Iran cannot indefinitely sustain its adventures abroad. And, to put it mildly, none of its current fights will be easy wins to start with. In sum, Iran is simply outgunned, outspent, outflanked, and overstretched. Deal or no deal, nuclear weapons or none, there are only two outcomes: either Iran makes the smart choice, and avoids conflict, or it loses to the Saudis and their American allies.
The full column is available here.
Following last week's agreement on a nuclear deal with Iran, some members of Congress have expressed frustration with the United Nations Security Council for passing a resolution supporting the deal. In the Huffington Post, TCF fellow Stephen Schlesinger argues that this ignores the role the Security Council has played in the past—for instance, when it approved the United States' plans for the first Gulf War:
If it is alright for a Republican leader to send legislation on critical global matters to Congress following a UN edict and get approval, why is it not equally fine for a Democratic president to do so? In both cases, the determination concerned matters of war and peace, though, it must be said, in the Iranian case, it was to avoid war while in the Kuwait case it was to go to war—a huge difference.
The full post can be found here.
The recent nuclear deal with Iran is one of Barack Obama's signature foreign policy achievements. In World Politics Review, TCF fellow Michael Cohen writes that it is one of many examples of the more hands-off approach the U.S. has taken with the Middle East during Obama's term.
The days of U.S. immersion in the problems of the Middle East have surely reached an end point. As Marc Lynch writes in an upcoming article for Foreign Affairs, “Obama came to office with a conviction that reducing the United States’ massive military and political investment in the Middle East was a vital national security interest in its own right.”
And over the past six years, with plenty of fits and starts and some detours along the way, Obama has by and large successfully executed that strategy. The Iran deal is merely the coup de grace, and it lays the groundwork for a shift to Asia that goes beyond rhetoric.
Cohen's full column is available here.
The recent nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States marks the end of an era in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. In Foreign Affairs, TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis argues for a shift in the American approach that prioritizes focusing on one Middle Eastern country at a time to a more ad-hoc strategy focusing on specfiic issues:
After years of myopic focus on Iran’s nuclear program, the United States will have to take an unsentimental and cleareyed inventory of its dysfunctional allies. It can only expect so much from Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, and Turkey — but with these sorts of friends, it behooves Washington to lower its expectations and take a more transactional approach to enlisting cooperation, whenever possible, on a single issue or subsets of issues. A disappointed Saudi Arabia, for instance, might play ball with the United States on Syria — even as it opposes Washington’s policy in Iraq.
Cambanis's full column is available here.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Israeli opposition have been united in opposing the United States' nuclear deal with Iran. However, in The Daily Beast, TCF trustee Jonathan Alter argues that the deal is, in fact, in Israel's interests:
For a country that usually has a sure sense of its own security interests, Israel can be strangely obtuse about the true existential threats it faces. Many Israelis and American Jews resent Jimmy Carter for his strong views opposing the occupation of Palestinian territories and his use of the word "apartheid" to describe the situation there. They rarely recognize that by engineering the Camp David Accords, Carter removed the existential threat posed by the Egyptian army, the only force capable of driving Israel into the sea.
Now they dislike President Obama for striking a deal that, at a minimum, delays Iran's ability to destroy Israel with a nuclear bomb.
Alter's full column is available here.
This week's nuclear deal with Iran was a diplomatic achievement for the Obama adminsitration. In World Politics Review, TCF fellow Michael Cohen writes that it marks a departure from the Bush-era strategy of pre-emptive war:
President Barack Obama's strategy for dealing with nations intent on producing weapons of mass destruction featured a very different approach. Indeed, perhaps the most striking element of this agreement is the extent to which it validates Obama's 6-year effort to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions. First came outreach to Tehran, which in the wake of the Green Revolution was rejected by a reeling Iranian regime. This gave the United States leverage to move a third round of even tougher multilateral sanctions against Iran through the Security Council. Countries that previously had been reluctant to pursue this course, like China and Russia, jumped on board.
Cohen's full column is available here.
In the first years of the new century, an assertive foreign policy took a toll on the cultivated role of the U.S. as a responsible global leader. The Century Foundation's work in this area provides perspective on the international difficulties the U.S. is facing today, while providing policy recommendations to promote the nation's security interests. Our research and analysis focuses on effectively responding to challenges in the Middle East and Pakistan, as well as responding to international crime.
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