Uzbek-American military ties are once again warming up, which will inevitably strengthen the Uzbek dictatorship’s hand against its own people. Does anyone recall the term “blow-back?”
A further consideration is the impact of American entrenchment in
Moscow could simply carry out its promises re civilian nuclear technological support; continue moving forward the lucrative, emerging Russian-Iranian gas cartel (which will be far more effective than the hydra-headed OPEC); and take the eminently reasonable step of providing those promised land-to-air defensive missiles to protect Iran’s nuclear establishment, perhaps supported by missile mechanics who would need support from Russian troops who would of course need Russian air cover and voila! it would be 1948 all over again. It could even announce the defensive move in the U.N., bragging about how providing Iran with a defensive shield will make nuclear war in the Mideast far less likely (A. Israel won’t be able to start one; B. Iran will no longer be tempted or scared into building nuclear bombs). True or not, such arguments would be hard to dismiss, and
For one example of skilled chess playing by Tehran, take a look at international affairs not from the perspective of "big diplomacy" discussed in this post but from the perspective of what might be called "real-world diplomacy:" pipeline construction. Contemplate the meaning of Pakistan and India relying on Iranian gas for the next quarter century. Dare I enunciate a new theory of international affairs, namely, that countries linked by major hydrocarbon pipelines don't go to war with each other?
And if…IF…Tehran were ruled by skilled chess-players, it might then announce that since it was now protected from the Israeli threat, that it was ready for total nuclear transparency and throw open its doors to the IAEA.
Lots of points might follow from this little scenario, but the one that is relevant here is simply this: throwing Iran into the hands of Moscow in return for embroiling the U.S. in a civil war in Uzbekistan (in which the U.S., with its usual foresight, gets to defend a vicious dictator against a popular protest movement) is not a good deal.
So if Washington wants to cut a deal on Afghanistan that risks stimulating Russian pride, it better cut one with Tehran first.