The US sees itself as being locked into a confrontation with Iran, its number one enemy since the invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. But, as Roger Howard argues in this compelling and provocative new book, by attempting to isolate Iran, the US may in fact be undermining its own power. For, if the US forces the rest of the world to choose between Iran and America, Iran has a trump card to play: some of the largest deposits of gas and petroleum on the planet. With global energy demands at an all-time high and supplies becoming increasingly inaccessible, Iran's oil and gas have already started to lure former US allies such as Pakistan and India away from American influence. Over the next decade, Iran's energy supplies look set to radically reformulate the security and diplomatic relationships of Asia and the Middle East. Furthermore, because of US trade embargoes on Iran, it is only the US's rivals, such as China, who are able to fully exploit Iran's natural resources, thus powering a new alliance of countries which will act as a counterweight to US global power.
By pursuing such a hostile agenda to a country with so much petro-clout, America is, according to Howard, writing its obituary as the world's only superpower.
Roger Howard is a freelance journalist specialising in defence and energy issues in the Middle East. He is a contributor to The New Statesman and Spectator magazines, Middle East International and Jane's Intelligence Review.