Obama's Bold Gambit & The Next Steps with Iran

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Stories we're following today:

Obama the Gambler - Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post [link]

  • Obama is gambling that America is mature enough to understand that machismo is not foreign policy and that grandstanding on the global stage won't succeed.
  • In a new world, with other countries more powerful and confident, America's success -- its security, its prosperity -- depends on working with others. It's a big, bold gambit. I hope it works.

From the Soviet Collapse, a Lesson on Reining in Iran - Roger Stern & Bernard Kaykel in The Naitonal [link]

  • Europe must cut off its energy investments immediately if Iran continues to default on its obligations for transparency under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • That is the stick, but there must also be a carrot. Iran’s reward for better behaviour should be the promise of massive European investment in the biggest energy prize in Iran: modernising its obsolete gas-powered electricity generation infrastructure.

Iran Tests Missiles On Eve Of Talks - Pincus & DeYoung of the Washington Post [link]

  • Amid growing international pressure in advance of highly anticipated talks this week, Iran displayed its defiance of Western threats against its nuclear program by announcing Sunday that it had test-fired at least two short-range missiles.

The Nuclear Tipping Point - Frattini, Shultz, & Nunn in The Guardian [link]

  • We must work together in a joint enterprise to effectively reduce nuclear dangers, involving both nuclear and non-nuclear countries in working on urgent and practical steps towards achieving the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
  • Such a global effort is essential to reverse reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world.

How To: Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Program - Danger Room [link]

  • Over the weekend, über-strategist Anthony Cordesman crunched the numbers in a provocative essay for the Wall Street Journal.
  • We’ve been down this path before... [An attack on Iran's facilities might] at least set the Iranians back a few years. But the assessment also acknowledged the potential political fallout: The regional turmoil that might follow an Israeli attack, the study suggested, might further destabilize Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Rashman Ghahremanpour noted, “You cannot be assured about the destruction of all Iranian nuclear technology. … The nuclear technology activities are [too broadly] distributed within Iran."

A View from the Dark Side

Nuclear Pushback - Jim Hoagland of the Washington Post [link]

  • President Obama's dream of a world without nuclear weapons seems more like a nightmare to Russia and other nations that possess doomsday arms. Obama is pushing on a door that is closed, barred from inside and locked with a key that has been thrown away as far as the Kremlin is concerned.
  • Obama should temper his rhetoric and avoid adding atomic abolition to the growing list of subjects that he oversells and then seems to struggle to control.
  • If the denuclearization proposals are realistically framed, the United States may be able to influence the still-sketchy new Russian nuclear doctrine.