Updating the grand chessboard
The answer must involve an unprecedented caliber of diplomacy from Washington -- enough to make Metternich spin with envy.The full scale and scope of US "Soft Power" (with respect to Joseph Nye) should be deployed -- yet in a unique manner so as not to offend, but rather to ease and entice, the theocratic leadership.Given normalized relations between the US and the very Gwadar-proximate Iran, no costly provocations -- let alone an invasion and occupation of the Strait-flanking ethnic province of Baluchistan -- would be necessary.Lastly, oil and gas flowing from a US-friendly Iran would assist OPEC and US/UK banks in further stabilizing the increasingly precarious US Dollar, which nonetheless still remains the global reserve currency as well as currency of record for energy pricing and trading.Yet decades of US sanctions -- and recent pressure on firms like Royal Dutch Shell and even Total of France to pull out of Iran -- have resulted in the absence of the most advanced energy infrastructure technology in the world from accessing these fields.Enter archaic state energy appendages such as Russia's Gazprom, China's CNOOC and SINOPEC, India's ONGC and Indian Oil Corp., Eni of Italy, Pertamina of Indonesia, SKS of Malaysia, PDVSA of Venezuela and others to swarm around Iran's giant South Pars and Khuzestan fields like horse flies around an open, steaming chafing dish of beef skewers.
With the discovery of giant recent energy fields in her southwest region, Iran remains the world's second largest producer of both oil and natural gas.** Russia and Iran together retain nearly 20% of the world's oil and 50% of its natural gas reserves."The Peace Pipeline") is still a pending reality that threatens the US-EU sponsored TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or "Trans-Afghan") Pipeline.Iran also tutored Chavez's Venezuela in selling (read: eventually re-routing from the US) oil to China.Educated in the United States and Great Britain, the writer is a corporate strategic planning consultant with nearly two decades of experience in the media, financial services, public policy and energy sectors.He is also a perpetual student of history and philosophy, and an enthusiast of the board games chess and Go!
Search for updating the grand chessboard:
The current 'observer status' on the Russo-Chinese erected Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- a nascent yet ambitious regional alliance of Central, South and East Asian states aimed at serving as a counterweight to NATO -- may soon evolve into full member status for Iran, along with that of her neighbor, Pakistan.