Terminating Tensions in Three Steps
Pragmatic Paths Forward on the World Stage
- International challenges tend to be interrelated and resolving or accentuating one often snowballs onto others. There are few on the world stage, including those who are often vilified, who would be conceptually opposed to sitting at a table that is properly set. The manner in which the table is set determines the feasibility of drawing necessary participants to it.
- Yemen appears to be the most straightforward international challenge to resolve given various factors such as the bipartisan consensus in Washington, the economic issues in the Gulf states and military and diplomatic advances by the Sana’a-based Houthi-led government. Biden has vowed to end support for the Gulf coalition that is backing the Hadi government in the south, and execution on this objective would have better than even odds of snowballing into progress on other fronts such as engagement with Tehran.
- A full return to the pre-2018 status quo where Tehran is concerned is simply impractical. While a return to JCPOA compliance is certainly a viable option, the nature of the tensions have evolved such that engagement on common interests such as Afghanistan and Nagorno-Karabakh as well as partial unfreezing of funds held abroad may well be more practicable and no less effective.
- The issue of Cuba appears to be quite straightforward in nature, with a full return to the pre-2017 detente being both feasible and likely. Such steps would naturally have implications where the situation in Venezuela is concerned and could also have implications on other far-flung fronts as well.