Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Troop buildup in Afghanistan is great leverage against Iran

I doubt that anybody is happy with the prospect of the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan, but Iran is clearly the "player" with the most to lose from such a prospect, meaning that the buildup gives the U.S. significant leverage that will be very meaningful and helpful in negotiations with Iran.

The buildup is occurring primarily due to political instability in Afghanistan. A side effect of the buildup is that significant U.S. troop presence in the region is a deterrence to Iranian "activity" in the region.

The only way that Iran can "deter" a more aggressive buildup is to work very hard to encourage and assist in stabilizing the region. Specifically, that would mean reducing its support for terrorism in general and reducing its moral support for the Taliban.

So, if Iran wants to keep the size of the U.S. presence in check, Iran will have to work for exactly the political aims that the U.S. is pursuing. Otherwise, the U.S. presence will increase and Iran will be under even greater pressure.

The escalating U.S. presence also distinctly "implies" to Iran that Iran's "pursuit of nuclear ambitions" is not "helpful" if Iran wants the U.S. to have a less significant presence in the region. The U.S. can imply that any reduction in U.S. presence in the region requires Iran to be cooperative with U.S. aims on all fronts.

I have not been a fan of increasing U.S. presence in Afghanistan, but since it will be killing multiple birds with one stone, it does have a beneficial silver lining, and for that reason should be supported, at least for now.

-- Jack Krupansky


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