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I think that there is at least one pretty straightforward reason: For the US to "engage Iran as an equal partner," is - I think - pretty much code for acknowledging Iran's sphere of influence in the Greater Middle East.

If this reading is accurate, then not engaging Iran as an equal partner - i.e. not acknowledging its sphere of influence - will mean that both the US and Iran will lay claim to a number of states in the region.

Which will be kinda like the USSR and USA both claiming that Italy was in their sphere of influence. Italian politics were messy enough with only the Americans fucking them up - imagine what Moscow could have done if it had been prepared to start a serious proxy war over Italy...

Of course, there's the third option: That the US fails to recognise Iran's sphere of influence but does not oppose Iranian power grabs - but that would just buy them the worst of both worlds: A big chunk of their sphere of influence in the Mideast transferred to another power but without the political capital and general goodwill (i.e. the soft power) that would be gained by semi-officially recognising this state of affairs from the word go.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 11th, 2008 at 01:44:55 PM EST
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