Wednesday, July 06, 2005

2 Questions about Policy with Iran

I have 2 questions about the American policy with Iran. Maybe the answers have been well-thought out by others. I invite your comments.

1. People often critique the EU's engagement of Iran saying that it is naive and economically driven. That said, what happens without that engagement? Iran then engages with China and Russia. Right under our noses a new superpower is being created that will make it increasingly difficult for the EU and the US to influence countries like Iran. How do you balance the carrot and the stick?

2. Economic improvement means a bigger middle class that will, as so many historians and pundits claim, create a class that demands a voice in its government. Today, most Iranians-- middle class and poor-- are too busy worrying about money to care about having a voice in government. Isn't there a way to engage in trade with Iran without being seen to support the current government?

2 comments:

Mitch H. said...

Iranians are wealthier on average than most of the world. At 7k per capita, they're ahead of both India and China, massive trade partners with both the US and the EU. In fact, they're ahead of Zakaria's postulated 5k per capita threshold for the development of democratic institutions, which seems to argue against the case for the per capita threshold...

ET said...

Mitch H,

The middle class is fragile in Iran. IRan is not a deperately poor country by any means. But it is important to note that per capita income is an average that includes the very rich and the very poor.

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