The possibility of U.S. trade and investment offers a most effective way to enhance Iranian decision-making. Instead of imposing sanctions, which have punished Iranians for 24 years, a better strategy would be to demonstrate the benefits of economic cooperation with the U.S. The simplest first step would be for the U.S. to drop its objection to Iran’s joining the World Trade Organization. Indeed, the greatest resistance to economic reforms sought by Iranian progressives comes from the bazaar, the old-economy conservatives who also back the political-security hardliners. Prospective WTO membership would give progressives a lever to push reforms necessary to satisfy WTO terms and integrate Iran more deeply into the international political economy.
The elections were a success, but they do not ensure that Iraqis can now agree on a constitutional formula that accommodates the demands of all groups and keeps the country together. Democracy as separation of powers, checks and balances, and protection of individual rights has not proven enough to avoid conflict in other deeply divided societies.
The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Is There a Way Forward?
The ongoing conflict in and around Chechnya is helping to feed the wider international jihadi movement, and is endangering the West as well as Russia. Mutual recriminations over the conflict have badly damaged relations between Russia and the West. While most of the blame for this lies with Russian policies, the Western approach to the issue has often been unhelpful and irresponsible.
The "realist" argument for ignoring Putin's rollback of democratic practices in the name of national security interests can now only undermine Bush's credibility. Bush has made clear that he plans to promote liberty in every pocket of the world--surely including the largest country of all.
On Tuesday, January 8, 2005, Carnegie Endowment hosted "Pre-Bratislava Summit Briefing." The speakers were Carnegie Senior Associates Andrew Kuchins, Dmitri Trenin, Michael McFaul and Vyacheslav Nikonov, President of the Polity Foundation in Moscow. Carnegie Senior Associate Rose Gottemoeller chaired the discussion.
Michael McFaul reviews Inside Putin's Russia by Andrew Jack and Russian Crossroads: Toward the New Millenium by Yevgeiny Primakov.