In their January 18, 2014 edition, the Economist printed an article written by Lexington entitled Mr. Obama’s Iran problem (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21594295-congress-not-helping-president-deal-islamic-republic-mr-obamas-iran-problem). The article discusses the President’s plans to open communications with Iran and work to persuade President Hassan Rohani to slow his role in trying to obtain nuclear power. It was a question that plagued the Bush administration: use diplomacy and negotiate or use force and command. Defense Secretary Robert Gates answered the debate with “[suspecting] that no one in the world doubts this administration’s willingness to use force”. However, was and is this the best policy? And how can changing our game plan in the Middle East affect relations and structural balance? After all, it was diplomacy that prevented the Cold War from going nuclear.
Despite the fact that the key players to these negotiations are more-or-less totalitarian states, the relations between our countries have been extremely strained, and less than half of Congress supported talks, since the article was published Iran has reduced its enriched uranium stockpile. This is surely good news, especially for the US, where our economy and military has been crippled by our presence in the Middle East; as well as, proving to be good news for Rohani. Since his election, he has made it one of his goals to stabilize the country by lessening sanctions and improving his ties with the West.
The negotiations are not to be entered into blindly. President Obama is being scrutinized for his lack of “action” in Syria when Assad opened chemical warfare on targeted communities and, as I mentioned above, we have strained relations with the parties involved in the Iranian negotiations (both President Putin and Assad have offered their influence to Iran). We need to work with these countries—we do not need to like or justify what they are doing or have done, but maybe the days of Americans policing outside states have passed. If so, then the best course of action for progressing society—globally and locally—is going to be through diplomatic efforts.
As proven in the matching pennies example, war and acts of war do not fully benefit one party; each side is subject to casualties the possibility of their actions leading them no further than they were from the start. It becomes a matter of preventing casualties (whether mortally or monetary) and any resolution is often forced on to the other party. Give and take, or compromise, is (ideally) eventually reached, so why not proceed through negotiations. It isn’t a tactic that is going to change the face of the Middle East overnight, but it is the option that doesn’t use violence to breed violence. That isn’t to say that the world will eventually be eradicated of violence, it will just open the door to put everyone on the same page to deal with it. All countries are in more or less stabile relationships and deal with the negative relations within their own country or as a whole with other countries—kind of like what the UN was intended for.
It is a simple ideas that if a problem or issue isn’t discussed it isn’t resolved, if a country is in poverty resentment and hostility are bred and, from that, more resentment and hostility. I haven’t quite figured out why our previous administrations and our military is so apt to jump to war; after all, one catches more flies with honey. We should continue the negotiations, but not blindly, understanding and working towards a better life for all, isn’t necessarily giving pure trust and faith. If we open negotiations with the Middle East, then (hopefully) we can impose influence over the way they govern and hold them to a better moral code than they have in the past.
This link will direct you to an article detailing the “convuletedness” of relations in the Middle East and better explains the network in this posting: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/26/the-middle-east-explained-in-one-sort-of-terrifying-chart/.