President Barack Obama's hope to turn Iran's President Hassan Rouhani "into a friendly ally in the fight against Islamic State" could lead him to undertake "the single most reckless act of 2015" and cut a bad nuclear weapons deal with Teheran, The Times of London editorialized on January 1.
The newspaper agreed that "a deal that places Iran significantly farther away from developing a nuclear bomb is clearly attractive."
It cautioned that the "weakened American leader" could turn to foreign policy to justify his 2009 Nobel peace prize.
"If he does so, it has to have at its heart a sense of what the West considers to be worth fighting for and worth preserving."
The Times warned that "Europe has a tendency to turn inwards, the UN is too often rendered impotent by Moscow and Beijing and NATO summits have degenerated into fundraising events."
It was time to rethink these institutions which were constructed for a different age, said the editorial.
"If the idea of the 'West' is to retain meaning, then its leaders have to find ways of acting together to limit the power and influence of expansionist dictators. It must find coherent responses rather than purely reflexive strategies towards marauding terrorist armies."
Noting that "the fate of Russia is pivotal" to world stability, the Times predicted that neither Vladimir Putin nor the Islamic State would remain permanent fixtures on the international stage. "Let's make that sooner rather than later, and when it happens, let's be in a situation where we can declare their departure to be a victory for the West," the Times said.
Putin's scorn for international opinion has driven Russia to the economic brink. The U.S. favors tougher sanctions on Moscow. When the divided EU meets in March 2015 "its instinct" will be to "retreat," the Times said. "Putin must not be allowed to divide the West and expand his influence with impunity," the paper urged.
Given the dangerous foreign policy tests ahead, "a world at peace will rest on a robust response from the West," the paper concluded.
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