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The Moscow-Tehran Axis Is a Coalition of the Weak

Iran’s economy remains inefficient and inadequate, and Russia’s is in even worse shape. To push both countries back, the only thing America needs is the will to do so.

Russian president Vladimir Putin with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in Shanghai on May 21, 2014. ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images.

Russian president Vladimir Putin with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in Shanghai on May 21, 2014. ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images.

Response
Sept. 25 2017
About the author

Frederick W. Kagan is the Christopher DeMuth scholar and director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.


The excellent essay in Mosaic by Michael Doran and Peter Rough articulately lays out the challenges facing American national security in the Middle East and the flaws of U.S. strategy in the region over the past decade. The authors accurately assess the strength of the Russo-Iranian coalition, rightly dismissing the chimerical notion that the U.S. can somehow leverage Moscow to contain or control Tehran. And, again rightly, they ascribe the ascendance of that coalition to the efforts by President Obama to realign the U.S. against our traditional partners in the region as well as to his decision, accepted in turn by President Trump, to focus singlemindedly on the fight against Islamic State before seeking to address the Russo-Iranian challenge, particularly in Syria.

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More about: Iran, Middle East, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syria