The recent visit of President Ahmadinejad to Pakistan may well usher in a new Iranian thrust eastwards. As the nation gazes westward, it is confronted by hostile armed forces and competition for its oil, but an eastward glance reveals less economic competition and the two fastest growing economies in the world -India and China. Iranians are beginning to recognize that southeast Asia has a large Muslim population, expanding economies, and lucrative markets for their oil. The eastward gaze concides with Pakistan’s rethinking of its political and military situation. There is growing consensus within Pakistan for an end to turmoil in the frontier regions, something Iran can assist being achieved. Iranians recognize they now have an opportunity to create firm connections with the political realists who are assuming control of Pakistan.
Another plus to looking eastward is the ability of Iran to receive much needed investment funds from China which will make up for lost funding from the United States and the European Union. Perhaps, the world is in the beginning stages of a vast reconstruction of political and military alliances in which India, China, Pakistan, and Iran constitute a new economic and political bloc. The United States thought it could economically pressure nations to cease providing funds for Iran, but China and India are engaged in vast economic plans in which they assume leadership roles. They will not accept American pressure and will trod their own economic paths.