Martha Brill Olcott discusses U.S.-Azeri relations with NPR's Michelle Kelemen.
The US can ease or even end our dependency on oil, but it won't be easy. A program of drastic conservation is not a winning political program in a country built around cars, suburbs, and highways. That leaves another, even more unsavory alternative: The US can seek privileged access to the world oil supplies and prevent other countries from gaining similar access. That can lead to war.
Stronger diplomatic action on Iran depends heavily on the policies of Russia and China. The actions that either country takes next should be understood in light of their threat perceptions, economic interests, and the strength of the U.S.-French-German coalition.
The best estimates indicate that Iran is 5-10 years away from the ability to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon. But there are major uncertainties with these estimates. One worst-case scenario could have Iran with a nuclear bomb at the end of 2009, but that assumes that Iran does not encounter any of the technical problems that typically plague such programs.
If Francis Fukuyama is right, the neoconservative movement is dying. Good riddance. Through their network within the Bush administration, these intellectuals wreaked havoc on American national security interests, ruined the international reputation of the country and drove up a staggering national debt.
Some in the U.S. administration have already made up their minds that they would like to launch a military strike against Iran, if the UN Security Council does not impose sanctions on Iran. This is a counterproductive move to the goal of enabling the Iranian people to choose their own government.
If the U.S. and other Western powers decide to bypass the United Nations Security Council on the radioactive question of Iran's nuclear program, the internationalists will accuse them of undermining international law and order. Policymakers should tune them out. The world remains chaotic enough that the substance of international security must still trump procedure.
there is still a diplomatic opportunity that can resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran. The Iranians need a package of incentives to relinquish their nuclear program and it is really only America, and not the Europeans, that can offer Iran what it wants and needs. The time has come for a US-Iran rapprochement.