Rational behind Obama's outreach to Iran?
https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/531519-does-the-us-seek-an-arab-iranian-equilibriumObama may be seeking a regional balance of power to enable a US "pivot to Asia"
American policy in the Middle East has plainly been evolving, but in what direction has been less clear. Analysts have therefore been dutifully reading between the lines of what the risk-averse Obama administration has been doing and saying to try to tease out the new American strategic vision for the region.
Both the administration and the country at large seem ready to reduce the American footprint in the Middle East in favor of other priorities. However, the extent of that drawdown and, more importantly, what is intended to replace it, have been entirely unclear.
These questions became pressing following the American disengagement with Syrian rebels and embrace of the chemical weapons elimination program. When the US led the international community into an interim agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, they became even more so. Yet these moves only hinted at where American strategy might be headed, and raised more questions than they answered.
President Barack Obama, in his own words, has begun to explain what his administration sees as new American strategic policy goals and postures. And they will not please everyone.
In a sweeping overview of the current state of the Obama presidency, David Remnick has provided one of the first pieces of clear explication of where US grand strategy in the region may be headed, or at least where the administration wants to go.
Remnick quotes Obama as saying, bluntly, "If we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion... you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare."
This vision isn't going to mollify the suspicions of those concerned about Arab Gulf security.
In December, I speculated that a "plausible, but still from an Arab point of view alarming, scenario is that the US is seeking to create a balance of power between what amount to Sunni and Shiite regional alliances. Such an equilibrium, this logic holds, would allow the US to start to draw down its own posture in the region and concentrate on the long-ballyhooed 'pivot to Asia.