Sticks & Carrots

from Fareed Zakaria:

Imagine, for a moment, what the world looks like to Iran. The country is surrounded by powerful states with nuclear weapon— Israel, India, Pakistan, China and Russia. Across one of its borders stand some 170,000 American troops (in Iraq), across another are more than 50,000 NATO troops (in Afghanistan).

The United States has been bitterly opposed to the Iranian regime for three decades. The current American president has made clear time and again that he regards the Tehran government as evil and wishes that it would fall, and Congress set aside $75 million last year to "promote democracy" in Iran.

Now, if you were in Tehran, wouldn't you buy some insurance? And in the world of international politics, a nuclear program is the ultimate insurance policy.

For Washington to threaten a regime with extinction and simultaneously expect it to disarm is a policy doomed to failure. Were we to be clear that what we seek from Tehran is only a change in behavior, a policy of sticks and carrots might actually produce results.

Make Iran an Offer It Might Refuse

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