What do you think of Obama’s offer to Russia on Iran’s nuclear program?
- It’s a sensible approach, but ineffective in the long run
- A workable offer if Obama knows how and when to play his chips
- Blackmail of the lowest form
Obama in a secret letter offered to back off deploying a missile defense system in Eastern Europe in exchange for Russia’s help on stopping Iran’s nuclear program:
[quote] President Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday.
The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran. Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran.
“It’s almost saying to them, put up or shut up,” said a senior administration official. “It’s not that the Russians get to say, ‘We’ll try and therefore you have to suspend.’ It says the threat has to go away.”
When asked about the letter on Tuesday, according to the Interfax news service, Mr. Medvedev said that the Kremlin had ruled out the notion of a deal in which the United States would shelve its planned missile defense system in exchange for Russia’s help with preventing Iran from developing weapons…[/quote]
Do you think this is a sensible approach in preventing Iran from developing long-range weapons? Will Russian dissuasion and pressure be enough to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear program and weapons arsenal?
The cons: Russia’s oil economy is dependent on high energy prices. Energy prices rise when there is tension with oil-producing countries like Iran, and Russia has much to gain economically when that happens. Russia may say yes to Obama’s offer, but put minimal effort in pressuring Iran since their energy economies are linked.
The pros: Is having a missile defense system for Eastern Europe really worth it? What are the merits for having one in the first place? Regardless of the merits, Obama can always threaten to deploy it if Russia backpedals on Iran. Forcing Russia to put pressure on Iran could also pressure China to do the same, since Russia and China are in the same boat when it comes to the UN Security Council.
I am interested how this ‘secret’ letter was leaked. Perhaps that was Obama’s intention.