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The Oil Despots Disputes: Great power and Trump Play in West Asia

Faculty, International Relations and International Organizations, IIPA 06 Nov 2018

            President Trump ought to believe in the idiom of popular culture that with great power comes great responsibility. This is what the great power dictum of the larger international system and comity of States portends. With the recent spate of rekindled sanctions on Iran by the American establishment the turf seems to have been soured in a n always volatile and turbulent West Asia. Also, the narrative goes back to the days to the Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower who introduced the canny concept of, “Atoms for Peace” which led US to develop nuclear science in Iran under the Pehalvees in the Persian nation. In a manner, Washington seems to be suffering from a strange and unhcakked for Boomerang phenomenon, where-in, the US spawned nuclear potential seems to be pitted against Israel and Saudi Arabia leading to an imbalance in power in the tumultuous region.

             Also, the myriad facets of stopping nations such as China and India and the European Union from transacting oil and gas trade with Tehran has not been welcomed by the EU. President Trump has invoked the National Defence Authorization Act ( NDAA) which enables President Trump to procure a 180 days period wherein the various importers of Iranian oil and gas can take a time off from normalcy of links with Tehran and commercially disengage with the Iranian Oil racket and commerce which makes for 18% of the nation’s GDP and 40% of the total wealth of the Iranian State which is a recalcitrant nation-state and a rogue Satan in the American denomination and the Americana praxis of Diplomacy. Thus, the NDAA and on the same lines, President Trump has given a waiver to eight nations such as South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Taiwan, Russia, China and India so that the comprehensive bycott of Iranian oil can be achieved as in the paerlance of American policy, Iran has crossed the Rubicon as far as the JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive participation Agreement has been flouted by Tehran. Thus, it was in 2015 that JCPOA was signed between Iran and US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China in a bid to cap the development of nuclear armaments in Iran. The argument also called for the initiation of the Inspection and verification Regime as espoused by the operatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Thus, the cap on the nuclear ambitions of Iran was achieved after a great deal of nuclear negotiations. Still, according to a school of practitioners, the Iranians are very decent and sombre negotiators and Indo-Iran ties go back to antiquity, and, has historical underpinnings in the relations during the days of Mughals.   

       India will get the waiver and the freedom to trade with Iran for oil and resources with seven other nations. The prognostication goes that after March, 2019 the waiver would be further extended in quintessential decision-making mode followed by the Kliptocrarcy. India is the second largest importer of Iranian oil and gas after China and is dependent upon various sources for about eighty percent of its energy needs from exporting and producing nations. Still a lesson goes a long way for India that the nation ought not to place all the carrots in one basket and other sources such as in Africa, Latin America and Indo Pacific too need to be sustained as alternative source of oil and gas, which includes the American shale oil option too. India needs to keep the Americans in good humour with its foundational agreements and Defence “buys” from Washington if a canny appeasement of Washington is the call of the hour. The issue of sovereign concern ought to be hardly the case as the IR dictum of Realism and “Yatharthvad” and adhering to one’s national interest is what all the nations with their leaders strive for far away from the sentimental and romantic ruminations of an individual’s thinking capacity. Thus, India can also opt for barter as it did in the post 2012 years and with Indian refineries being tuned to the nature and quality of Iranian “crude”, India will find it hard to make that technical transition away from Tehran in a jiffy. This technical encumbrance holds true for other nations, too. US has already dit-rected OPEC to augment their oil output to tide over the sequestration of Iranian sources for the rest of the world. But, needs to be remembered is that most of the NATO and EU countries are against the American decision to walk out of the JCPOA with Iran and do not support the “American extraterritorial” and “secondary financial sanctions”.

               In a way, the Indian establishment needs to develop a semblance of a larger global sourcing of resources and strategically strive for a development of homegrown sources, too. The EU gang has utilised the “ Blockade regulation,” which lets the European allies of US to trade with Iran on the lines of how the American sanctions on Libya developed into.


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