A Necessary Evil: Engaging Iran to Foster Stability
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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Since the release of the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate NIE, there has been mounting pressure for the United States to engage Iran. However, the conclusion that Iran has suspended certain nuclear activities and now deserves a reward by dialogue simplifies the issues between the United States and Iran. Regardless of Irans nuclear ambitions, the United States must engage Iran unconditionally so that it can influence regional stability as well as the overt and covert actions of Iran and its proxies. The United States should use diplomatic and economic channels to highlight common goals, enhance cooperation, and apply pressure to achieve American objectives. The comparison of U.S. and British relations from 1770 until 1871 with U.S. and Iranian relations from 1911 until present is quite relevant. Both relationships are marked by conflict, intrigue, misunderstandings, revolution, technological changes, and the fact that each nation had more in common with each other than the allies it used as proxies or counter-balances. The United States must engage Iran along all fronts. It has a responsibility to be a proactive, open, and engaging nation. The United States cannot impact Iran unless it is talking to Iran, without conditions. The United States has a history of benevolence and of initiating discourse with nonallied states. In much the same way that Nixon opened relations with the Chinese, it will require a bold, unconditional effort. It is time for the United States to assume the responsibility of a great nation and begin the path towards establishing an alliance with its true natural and necessary ally in the Middle East.
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