Entessar, Nader, and Kaveh L. Afrasiabi. Trump and Iran: From Containment to Confrontation.

AuthorMehranian, Yeprem

Entessar, Nader, and Kaveh L. Afrasiabi. Trump and Iran: From Containment to Confrontation. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.

Nader Entessar and Kaveh L. Afrasiabi's most recent scholarly collaboration--Trump and Iran: From Containment to Confrontation--sheds light on the political and military-strategic ramifications of the Trump administration's rescindment of his predecessor's short-lived nuclear agreement with Iran, an abrupt turnabout the authors attribute to Trump's "mercurial" nature, "highly fluid... controversial... prone to policy reversals and even 'flip-flops'" (3). The book compels the reader to question the notion that the chronic conflict between the United States and Iran is mainly a disagreement over the nature of Iran's policy of developing a nuclear industry. The book highlights the multidimensionality of the conflict for all contenders. For the United Sates the challenge would be to find a solution simultaneously capable of preventing post-revolutionary Iran from militarizing its nuclear industry, while resolving the escalating rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a way to ensure US hegemony in the Middle East. For Iran--a key former ally turned foe since its anti-American Revolution of 1979--to find a pathway that would allow it to preserve enough of its nuclear industry, for future use, while maintaining military parity with its Arab Gulf State adversaries; more broadly, its status as a regional power, achieved by means of its large missile defense system, and its extensive network of anti-American ideological cohorts in the region.

It is into the context of such complexly intersecting contentions, interests, and objectives that Entessar and Afrasiabi interpose the two concepts of containment and compellence, both US strategies of curbing Islamic Iran's nuclear energy plans and its military-strategic and ideological ambitions. Following an exposition of each of these strategies, the rationales behind their development, and the vices or virtues of one or the other, the authors advocate for containment. The authors declare the main theme of their book to be Trump's abandonment of the normative American strategy of containment in order to compel Iran to respond to US demands. The authors define as compellence "a method to force an opponent into doing something against its will under the duress of threat or coercion" (5), whereas containment is described as a preventive act that alternates between persuasion and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT