The Third Track: The Military Instrument and U.S. Policy Towards Iran
Civilian Research Paper
WASHINGTON INST FOR NEAR EAST POLICY DC
Pagination or Media Count:
U.S. foreign policy toward Iran focuses on a dual-track approach, engaging in diplomacy and leveraging economic sanctions. Despite more than 30 years of pursuing this approach, the U.S. has failed to lessen Iran s threat to regional and international stability. Iran continues to pursue and come ever-closer to establishing a nuclear capability. This historical approach has only proven to be a mild distraction to Iran s goal. The U.S. should pursue an aggressive third approach - establishing red lines backed a credible and sustained threat of military action. Instruments of statecraft or power refer to the diplomatic, military, economic, and informational means used to achieve national military objectives yet, efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities have not benefitted from the use of all of these instruments. Thus, U.S. policy undervalues the military instrument in changing Tehran s pursuit of nuclear weapons, support to terrorism, and threats against its neighbors. Although U.S. administration officials continue to state all options are on the table, Iran seemingly continues to hedge its bet that the military instrument will not be used against them in a lethal capacity. Prudently implemented, the military instrument provides a level of synergy needed to strengthen diplomatic and economic pressure against Iran.
- Government and Political Science