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In discussing options with Iran, NPR’s Siegel lists military response, leaves out deterrence

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Yesterday Robert Siegel of National Public Radio did a long report on the efforts to deprive Iran of the materials to develop a nuclear weapon. The report concluded that if a nation wants to make a nuclear weapon, in the end, it will be able to. Then Siegel concluded:

Which is one reason we’re hearing a lot about the alternatives to nuclear keep-away: diplomacy, sanctions and the threat of force. And we’re likely to hear a lot more about all of the above in the coming months.

This seems like a limited menu. Many have said that we can deter Iran from using a nuclear weapon or “contain” Iran. I believe that the far greater tolerance the West has shown North Korea — do you hear anyone talking about keeping the military option on the table there?– reflects a policy of deterrence. Recently Kenneth Waltz argued that things would be stabler if Iran got a bomb. And Chomsky has argued for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. I am against a war with Iran, or a military strike on Iran. I don’t want any more Middle Easterners or Americans killed in bad policy decisions. If National Public Radio host wants to talk about going to war, he has an obligation to discuss deterrence as a policy alternative.

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I don’t want any more Middle Easterners or Americans killed in bad policy decisions. If National Public Radio host wants to talk about going to war, he has an obligation to discuss deterrence as a policy alternative.

perfect. and i want a pledge from any advocates for military action against a ‘nuclear’ iran that they are willing to shed their blood or the blood of their service-age relations in that military action.

Iran has pushed for a nuclear free zone with the IAEA…

Containment worked against the USSR, a much more deadly enemy. Why is this such a no-no, as we all learned from the vetting of Hagel? And, in context, what ever happened to “balance of power” doctrine? For some reason Kissinger thought it remained the way to go–except where Israel was concerned.

I suspect that Siegel as well failed to make clear that Iran is Israel’s enemy, not the US’s.

“If National Public Radio host wants to talk about going to war, he has an obligation to discuss deterrence as a policy alternative.” Not least because Siegel’s darling Israel is a leading example of a country using deterrence (among other things). As Kenneth Waltz (and many others) have noted, Iran wouldn’t directly attack Israel because of Israel’s capacity to retaliate massively. It is precisely because a nuclear-armed Iran would have a credible deterrent that the… Read more »