NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A Common Policy For Dealing With Rogue States

August 29, 1996

U.S. foreign policy analysts are dismayed over the continued diplomatic and economic dealings of some allied European countries with terrorist states such as Iran and Libya. They say we are on a collision course with some of our closest allies.

  • For many years, the U.S. has been seeking to isolate and weaken the mullahs' regime in Iran by maximizing external pressures on it.
  • But major European countries have sought to maintain normal relations with Iran in the hope of moderating its behavior.
  • The European Union has adopted a common policy toward Iran called "critical dialogue" -- which means a critical posture toward Iran's misbehavior, while maintaining normal commercial and political relations.
  • Experts say this European policy is motivated by its vulnerability to oil shortages and fear of terrorist blackmail.

Trade also pays a role. German exports to Iran reached $6 billion in 1993 -- although that has fallen considerably since.

But American, and even some European, analysts say these interests do not justify ignoring Iran's continuing military buildup, active support for terrorism and hostility toward Arab-Israeli diplomacy. They say a common strategic policy between the U.S. and Europe must be forged now.

American pressures have reportedly already had some affect on European policies. Our allies are quietly cooperating on restricting weapons sales and new loans to Iran. Even analysts unsympathetic to American policy are increasingly struck by the internal dissension and demoralization in Iran, and now speak openly of the possible eventual collapse of the regime.

Source: Peter W. Rodman (Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom and National Review), "Dealing With Iran," Wall Street Journal, August 29, 1996.


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