Energizing Peace - With Gas Pipelines

Energizing Peace
Natural gas pipelines, not military supply lines, could pave the way for stability in power-starved Central Asia.
BY SALEEM H. ALI, PARAG KHANNA, AFPAK Channel, Foreign Policy; NOVEMBER 5, 2009

The lessons of geography appear to be ignored by policymakers in Washington D.C. these days. The Obama administration is pursuing tenuous negotiations with Iran regarding its supply of low-enriched uranium, in the hopes of taking the first step to erase the longstanding animosity between the two countries. It is also rethinking its Afghanistan and Pakistan policy to emphasize reconstruction and economic development. These two strategies are unfortunately disconnected -- despite the fact that Afghanistan shares a 600-mile-long strategic border with Iran.

Neither a "surge" of troops and aid in Afghanistan, nor negotiations over Iran's nuclear program without addressing its regional isolation, will bring Central Asia much closer to stability. The United States must support a policy that addresses the major deficiency all these countries share in common: a lack of clean, affordable energy for their poor populations. Only natural gas pipelines, not military supply lines, can do this.

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