Engagement Towards Iran

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“Only a peace between equals can last.” Woodrow Wilson The US broke diplomatic relationships with Iran following the hostage crisis in 1979. Since then the US strategy towards Iran has focused on containment to deter both its nuclear weapons program and its support of regional terrorist organizations. The strategy of isolating Iran allows the regime to use the US as a scapegoat for its ills. The regime can point to US-sponsored anti-Iranian actions, and bolster its authoritarian hold on power by stating that its problems are caused by the US and its puppet regime in Jerusalem. The current strategy is turning into a new Cold War with land and aviation forces stationed in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Jordan and naval assets in both the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. These deployments are long term with no clear timeline for exiting. While forward deployed forces show resolve to our Gulf State allies and provide the President a number of rapid military options, it is both expensive and puts Iran in a threatened position. The strategy of isolation and containment has not work over the past thirty years and another option is more likely to achieve US national interests. In contrast to a policy of containment, a policy of engagement revolves around engaging Iran as a partner nation. Instead of characterizing Iran as part of the “axis of evil”, engagement involves high level dialogue between Iran and the US with both sides ready to make concessions. This policy’s primary characteristic is direct bilateral talks, something that has only been happening at the periphery of other meetings. Multilateral talks have too many partners involved who can complicate the talks by involving competing issues. If bilateral tal... ... middle of paper ... ...d K. Betts (New York: Pearson/Longman, 2013), 6-18. Robert Keohane and Joseph Ney, “Power and Interdependence,” in Conflicts After the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace, 4th ed., ed. Richard K. Betts (New York: Pearson/Longman, 2013), 165. Kant, “Perpetual Peace,” 142. Barack Obama, “Remarks by President Obama in Address to the United Nations General Assembly,” 24 September 2013, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/24/remarks-president-obama-address-united-nations-general-assembly (accessed 20 November 2013). Barack Obama, “Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery Address to Joint Session of Congress,” 24 February 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-of-President-Barack-Obama-Address-to-Joint-Session-of-Congress (accessed 20 November 2013). Obama, “UN General Assembly,” 24 September 2013.

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