In a sweeping essay, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger warns of the emergence of a new Iranian superpower in the Middle East.
The battle to defeat ISIS is decisive, as it will allow territory formerly held by the terror group either to fall into the hands of Russia and Iran or the United States and its allies. If Iran benefits from the war, the consequences for the Middle East and the West will be weighty.
The Middle East affects the world by the volatility of its ideologies as much as by its specific actions. The outside world’s war with Islamic State (IS) can serve as an illustration. Most non-IS powers—including Shiite Iran and the leading Sunni states—agree on the need to destroy it. But which entity is supposed to inherit its territory? . . . If the IS territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shiite forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.
Kissinger counsels that the adage of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" may no longer apply in the Middle East.
[T]he West . . . must decide what outcome is compatible with an emerging world order and how it defines it. It cannot commit itself to a choice based on religious groupings [e.g., supporting Sunnis against Shiites] in the abstract since these are themselves divided. Its support must aim for stability and against whatever grouping most threatens stability. And the calculation should include the long term and not be driven by the tactics of the moment.
Read the entire essay here.
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