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Unformatted text preview: 91 M OVING BEYOND C OERCIVE D IPLOMACY : A N EW P OLICY A PPROACH TOWARD I RAN S N UCLEAR A MBITIONS Brandon M. Boylan This article reviews recent coercive measures taken by the United States in order to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and argues that an engagement policy is more likely to achieve success. Coercive approaches have included threatening a mili- tary strike, levying UN sanctions, and supporting EU economic offers, but they have not been successful in encouraging Iran to change its present course. Although the current administration is pursuing an engagement policy, it is more likely to achieve success if it articulates its approach with more substance and precision. This should consist of two dimensions. Firstly, the United States should encourage Russia to be at the forefront of diplomatic efforts since its strategic position to both the United States and Iran makes it an appropriate mediator on the nuclear issue. Secondly, the United States must strengthen its democracy promotion efforts directly among the Iranian people, which will reinforce the democratic movement in Iran in the long run. I NTRODUCTION Irans nuclear brinkmanship cannot be sustained much longer. The Iranian 5 Brandon Boylan is a Ph.D. Student in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh. 92 government continues to evade nuclear inspections, reject incentive pack- ages, and test missiles while driving forward its nuclear program. Moreover, the outcome of the June 2009 elections has guaranteed that President Ahmadinejads power will not wane soon, diminishing hopes for a change in the status quo. Meanwhile, the international community remains in the dark about Irans nuclear development and how to proceed in a way that will deliver desirable results. How long will it take Iran to construct a nuclear weapon? What should be done about it? And who should do it? The Bush administration was unable to assemble a strategy that rendered solutions or even progress. From threats of a military attack to diplomatic force, no approach proved effective. Though the Obama administration is willing to advance a new agenda, it must first reconcile past missteps without appearing soft on the issue. The United States cannot expect to rope Iran back into the worlds good graces if it continues to place its relationship with the Iranian government at the forefront of the resolution process. For example, an opportunity emerged for the two administrations to work together when the National Intelligence Council (2007) concluded with high confidence that Iran had discontinued its weapons program, but Washington hardliners squandered this opportunity by continuing to advocate coercive measures, prevent- ing the possibility for progress. Because Iran views the European Union (EU) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as proxies for U.S. interests, their efforts have been unsuccessful as well. The Obama administrations decision to abandon coercion is a step toward reaching...
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.
- Fall '11