I’m not sure I’d characterize the summit between the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran as “the latest sign of Iran’s emergence as the regional power,” as does the NY Times. I might think otherwise if Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had joined them. But he didn’t, meaning this is basically the diplomatic equivalent of a block association meeting.
It certainly can’t do any harm, could even do some good, and far from being an example of our inability to isolate Iran, is exactly the sort of thing that we should be — and increasingly have been — encouraging. But if anything, the summit’s generic declaration leads me to question the significance of last month’s Washington, D.C. version of the “Hamid & Asif Traveling Feelgood Show,” more than it makes me worry about Iranian influence. If Iran really were exercising such pull, why was it only able to get Zardari to sign a boilerplate agreement on the 14-years-in-the-making Iran-Pakistan-no-more-India pipeline?