Monday, August 11, 2008

Bolivia and Iran: In the Shadows

With all of the attention focused on the war in the Caucasus, I did want to pause for a moment and look at two other developments over the weekend that touch on U.S. interests.

The first is the recall election in Bolivia. Evo Morales won 63 percent of the vote, increasing his majority of victory from the 54 percent he received when first elected. With this renewed mandate, it makes it harder to claim that his program of redistribution (as well as his anti-Americanism) does not enjoy the support of the majority of Bolivians, and the results are also a boost to Hugo Chavez. For Washington, the one bright spot may be that one of Morales' harshest critics, the governor of Santa Cruz, Ruben Costas, also won his ballot and stays in office.

Saeed Jalili, Iran's nuclear negotiator, is said to be upbeat after his conversation with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Sunday. Perhaps he is in a good mood because he senses that the fragile united front against Iran is in danger of imploding. At any rate, the "freeze for freeze" proposal seems less and less likely to move forward, and one part of the EU-led strategy--which was carrots from the Geneva talks while pressure intensifies from the UN in New York--is now in doubt. Talks on a fourth sanctions resolution for the Security Council to consider may now be off given the rising level of hostility between the U.S. and Russia.

US & EU could have settled their differences in 1993 when Rafsanjani was the President of Iran and was looking for a deal.

US & EU, instead, decided to break Iran - mostly through US sanctions aimed at bankrupting the Iranian state.

This is a repeat of the 1993 policy on a grander scale.

I observe here that Georgia is important only because of CBT pipeline; which would have been un-necessary had US & EU reached a deal with Iran back in 1993.

Now, it is too late.
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