Enemies of Enemies

For a while now I have been checking out some entries at the Across the Pond blog managed by Deutsche Welle, sometimes finding interesting opinions and other times, well, not so much. Today’s entry is a reaction to the Vali Nasr op/ed on Iran and Russia that we commented on the other day.

Let’s assume Nasr’s ultra-realist strategy, which sounds like a new version of the old saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” works out and helps contain Russia. That still doesn’t answer the question about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. What’s more, Nasr’s dichotomy “Freeing Europe from the clutches of Russia” versus “Punishing Iran for its nuclear program” in itself is debatable. First, so far the common goal of the U.S. and the EU wasn’t to punish Iran for its nuclear program, but to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, which is an important distinction. Second, whether Europe is really in the clutches of Russia is still a point of discussion. And third, whether containing a resurgent Russia has a higher priority than preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is equally questionable. So what do you think? Is it a sound strategy for the next president to play off Iran versus Russia?