by Michael Rubin
1st part of 2
Containment helped define
The policy was perhaps best described by George Kennan in his 1947 'X' article, in which he claimed "it is clear that the main element of any
Yet, although the X article was written about the idiosyncracies of the Soviet system, containment is not a policy necessarily specific to the unique characteristics of the Cold War. Many in
For the present,
Containment, at present, appears the policy option most likely to be used should all other avenues fail to defuse the international stand-off over the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment programme. Given the lack of success that has been forthcoming from other policies, including a new incentive package from the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus
The containment policy would not seek to deter use of nuclear weapons by
The range of possible regional operations is significant, largely owing to the unstable international politics of the Gulf region. Beyond the possible use of Iranian proxies in Iraq and Lebanon, three Persian Gulf islands disputed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tonb islands – remain longstanding flashpoints. Moreover, Hossein Shariatmadari, appointed to the editorship of the hardline Iranian daily Kayhan by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, raised regional anxiety with a 9 July 2007 editorial suggesting that the island nation of Bahrain should, after almost five centuries of separation, return to Iranian control, while the member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council (Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar), remain concerned about Iranian statements over Tehran's ability to close the Strait of Hormuz.
This does not demonstrate that such conflict is likely, nor that
Given these scenarios, it is unsurprising that the
In terms of US basing, there is already a demonstrable trend towards containment.
However, while these operations appear to field a formidable aggregate force, in reality the majority of these troops are already engaged in operations related to the wars in
Moreover, many of the facilities used by the
Similarly, while the US military and Oman maintain a façade of co-operation, the Omani leadership undermined US confidence in its reliability when, at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, it withheld permission for several days for the US Air Force to conduct operations against the Taliban from airfields on Omani territory because of its desire to preserve the appearance of neutrality in a fight involving co-religionists.
Beyond the GCC, given its extensive frontier,
Another Iranian neighbour,
Finally, Pakistan, bordering Iran to the east, while long a nominal US ally will not participate actively in containment of Iran for reasons of its own instability, its orientation to counter perceived threats from India, and its involvement in Afghanistan.
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