This was being methodically developed, with the Ahmadinejad story, in the direction of “Iran’s Three Foreign Policies.” But that raconteuring has been interrupted by Khamanei’s July 7 speech, which is now said to have surprised the Iranian negotiating team, and made an agreement with the six powers impossible.
I was going in the direction of showing that Iran’s foreign policy was not integrated, and now this? I guess I’ll have to go with the flow. The West had the estates of the realm, but nothing like this, which is more like Mongolian throat singing.
Many nations consider the U.S. to be a hegemonic power. Putin, considering the U.S. to be an economic parasite on the world, wants to break the dollar. Countries that owe large amounts of dollar denominated debt dream of a trading system in which they would not run a deficit. Argentine/Russian partnering in nuclear energy is one such example. Particularly as Russia is losing the Ukraine, Putin’s sour grapes may have caused him to extend in directions that are not yet apparent. Because, if you’re a termite, and you want to take down a house, wood is wood wherever you find it.
Putin’s desire to break the dollar, and Iran’s need to escape the sanctions, which are based on dollar controls, are a coincidence of need. Never mind that Russia is one of the six negotiating with Iran. Breaking the dollar is even more important. Because foreign banks are chafing under the burden of U.S. penalties, the receptive audience has expanded a bit.
Khamenei spends all day thinking. Iraq is under his microscope. Sanctioned, locked in as it is, Iraq is one point where Iranian foreign policy has a crowbar. So the speculation that follows is based on what preoccupies Khamenei’s mind, and what tools are available to him to advance Iran’s interest.
There are new U.S. initiatives to reach out to Sunnis. Two wordings have been used. One is to identify and arm moderate Sunnis. The other is to pay the Sunni tribes to eject the ISIS (citation missing.) Because we think everyone should just love one another, it does not strike us that Iran could see an opportunity to drive a wedge between the Shi’ites and the U.S. But I think it strikes Khamenei. He certainly has the machinery to do it. The Mahdi Army can easily be stoked to madness.
But of what rational motive? Khamenei could reason that control over exports from Iraq’s southern fields would provide enough leverage to break the sanctions. And why would Russia wish to help? Because breaking the monopoly of the dollar, initially with a new scheme for trading oil, takes precedence over the price of oil.
Putin gets a new currency. Iran gets 90K centrifuges. China gets cheaper oil. If this is a shared calculation of Putin and Khamenei, is it correct? I am not knowledgeable enough to say. Both sides make mistakes. We cannot omit from our calculations the factors of boredom, frustration, and the feeling, by our opponents, of being contained. As the saying goes, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” (It’s a fun Google search.)
I am gratified that former Deputy Director of the CIA John McLaughlin shares in some degree my sentiments about the Kurds.