Really sharp op-ed this morning by Thomas Friedman, hooking up an option to negotiate from strength vis a vis Iran with his theory of petropolitics (that regimes are undermined during lower oil prices).
Here is why Iran was never the existential threat that McCain and Crew keep trying to make it out to be:
Under Ahmadinejad, Iran’s mullahs have gone on a domestic subsidy binge — using oil money to cushion the prices of food, gasoline, mortgages and to create jobs — to buy off the Iranian people. But the one thing Ahmadinejad couldn’t buy was real economic growth. Iran today has 30 percent inflation, 11 percent unemployment and huge underemployment with thousands of young college grads, engineers and architects selling pizzas and driving taxis. And now with oil prices falling, Iran — just like the Soviet Union — is going to have to pull back spending across the board. Fasten your seat belts.
Everything in foreign policy is not economic, but economics is part of everything. The neocons have no sense of the global economy (see their response to Russia-Georgia). Economics is part of every FP scenario. They simply don’t get that fact. And it leads them to hype powers who may be crumbling from within.