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September 27, 2009

Russia's Iran Test -- The Stakeholder Version
Posted by David Shorr

Over on RFE/RL's Power Vertical blog, Robert Coalson warns "not so fast," when it comes to counting on Russia to help put pressure on Iran. True enough, President Medvedev might've been leading President Obama on the other day in New York when he affirmed that sanctions may be necessary. Coalson gives an entirely plausible reading of Russian strategy -- that Moscow is gaming all of these issues to chip away at US influence as a predominant global power.

To which my response is: we'll see about that, won't we. I'm very big on the idea of responsible stakeholdership, and this will provide a textbook case. The essence of stakeholdership is action on behalf of the wider international community and the rules-based order. Robert Coalson portrays a resolutely self-interested Russia that perceives advantages to letting the Iranian situation fester. The current international effort to ratchet up pressure on Tehran will test Medvedev and Putin's commitment to upholding the norm of nuclear nonproliferation. By the way, for the definitive analysis of Russia's prospects as a pillar of the world community, see the excellent chapter by Andrew Kuchins and Richard Weitz in the authoritative volume on responsible stakeholdership Powers and Principles: International Leadership in a Shrinking World.

On a quick note of bipartisanship, having seen Sen. Bob Corker talk this morning on CNN about Iran (and Afghanistan), he sounded extremely statesmanlike and practical.


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