Stephen Kinzer writes:
This week in New Delhi, President Obama went further than any of his predecessors toward embracing India as an ally, and most Indians are thrilled by this warm treatment. This does not mean, however, that the two countries will align all of their foreign policies. In some areas, India would like the United States to change its approach.
One key difference is over Iran. India has the wiser policy, and Obama should consider emulating it.
Despite some changes in atmospherics, Obama’s approach to Iran has been remarkably similar to the one President George W. Bush took in his second term: don’t bomb Iran, but continue to threaten that “all options are on the table’’; steadily intensify economic sanctions, despite ample evidence that they weaken civil society and lavishly enrich the repressive Revolutionary Guard; insist on negotiations on the nuclear issue, but refuse to broaden the agenda to include issues that concern Iran.
India, like many other regional powers, takes the Iranian threat far less seriously than the United States does. It does not see Iran as an existential threat to anyone, but rather as just another thuggish country with resources, and wants to see it enticed back into the world’s mainstream. India would like the United States to adopt a more accommodating policy toward Iran — and could even serve as the bridge that makes it possible.