Thursday, May 25, 2006

From the Sochi Summit

Xinhua's coverage of the EU-Russia summit in Sochi, with regard to the question of Iran, is interesting for what it stresses.

--a "common" Russia-Europe position (in contrast to the U.S. perspective of a U.S./Europe position juxtaposed against a Sino-Russian one;

--an emphasis on "diplomatic and peaceful" means to resolve the crisis.

Why I find this interesting is that it is clear that attempts are underway to shift the dynamic away from a U.S.-led/European supported process on Iran toward the recreation of the 2003 situation: an Anglo-American position on the one hand and a continental European/Asian position on the other. Could a Paris-Berlin-Moscow-Beijing alignment be in the works to take the lead on Iran? What precisely did Merkel and Putin discuss in the Russo-German summit several weeks ago? Where will Paris come down in the end? I think that the Iran portfolio is much more dynamic than assuming that the U.S. and the EU-3 have achieved a single harmonious position and that the strategy can focus on pressuring Moscow and Beijing.

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