With President Obama’s pledge to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014 and with the war in Iraq nominally over, it is necessary to begin predicting and planning for the new power dynamics of a post-U.S. Middle East. Analysts have already pinpointed the Islamic Republic of Iran as the nation poised to fill the power vacuum. Such a scenario is not as dreadful as it seems; Iran could be a stabilizing agent for Afghanistan because the two nations, already tied together by geography and culture, have much to gain by trade. Effects for the U.S. could range from rosy to rotten. Rather than a battleground, Afghanistan has the potential to be the breeding ground for new cooperation between Iran and the U.S. But more obviously and – given the current crippled status U.S.-Iran relations – more likely is that Iran will try to manipulate Afghanistan against the U.S. After all, Iran does not benefit from Afghanistan remaining a Western ally so long as the hatred between Iran and the U.S. continues to fester.