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Nuclear-Armed Iran Would Bring 'Stability' But Risks

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posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 07:22 AM
The link provided features a discussion between a realist political theorist; John J. Mearsheimer and a former Pentagon employee; Dov Zakheim, discussing, theoretically with practical evidence the implications of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and wether this will lead to a greater degree of stability.

The transcript of the speech for all those who cannot view the video or the link follows.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: two views on whether a nuclear-armed Iran makes the Middle East a safer place. John Mearsheimer is a professor at the University of Chicago. He's a West Point graduate and former Air Force officer. And he's written extensively on strategic issues. Dov Zakheim served in the Pentagon during the administrations of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. He's now a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

And, gentlemen, thank you both for being with us.

John Mearsheimer, I'm going to start with you.

This all did start with that article in "Foreign Affairs" magazine by Kenneth Waltz. You don't go as far as he does in arguing that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a net positive. But you do agree with him that it would bring stability to the region. Why?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER, University of Chicago: I think there's no question that a nuclear-armed Iran would bring stability to the region, because nuclear weapons are weapons of peace. They're weapons of deterrence.

They have hardly any offensive capability at all. And if Iran had a nuclear deterrent, there's no way that the United States or Israel, for that matter, would be threatening to attack Iran now, in the same way that if Saddam had had nuclear weapons in 2003, the United States wouldn't have invaded Iraq, and if Libya had nuclear weapons in 2011, the United States wouldn't have gone to war against Libya.

So I think that if you had a Middle East where other states besides Israel -- and this, of course, includes Iran -- had a nuclear deterrent, it would be a more peaceful region. But the problem is that there is always some small possibility that there will be nuclear use.

And the most likely scenario is what's oftentimes referred to as inadvertent escalation. And this is where you have a conventional war that starts off with no intention of turning into a nuclear war, but inadvertently escalates to the nuclear level.

And you can hypothesize all sorts of situations, for example, where a conventional war between India and Pakistan, which both have nuclear weapons, escalates from the conventional to the nuclear level. And, of course, the same logic applies to the Middle East.

There's only a small, a very small possibility that that would happen. But that small possibility is enough to make me very wary of the idea of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

JUDY WOODRUFF: OK. So you're saying you buy the idea it adds stability. You do have the very serious caveat about the idea of conventional warfare getting out of control.

But let's just focus on this idea that it would bring stability, Dov Zakheim. You heard John Mearsheimer say that they are inherently peaceful weapons. They are a deterrent, as they were during the Cold War. What about that argument?

DOV ZAKHEIM, former Pentagon official: Well, inherently peaceful is hard to imagine in terms of nuclear weapons. They ended World War II, after all.

But the problem is sort of magnified by what John Mearsheimer just said. If Iran acquires these weapons -- that's assuming that the Israelis don't attack ahead of time or that someone else doesn't attack ahead of time -- if they get these weapons, that is definitely going to cause at least three or four more countries in the region to acquire those weapons as well, probably Saudi Arabia, probably the United Arab Emirates, possibly Turkey, possibly Egypt.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean because they would want to. . .

DOV ZAKHEIM: Either because they will be afraid of Iranian nuclear blackmail, or they will be afraid that Iran could transfer technology to those who might attack them in some way.

I mean, after all, look at what Pakistan did with its nuclear technology. Look at what North Korea did with its nuclear technology.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So you're saying it would set off an arms race?

DOV ZAKHEIM: It will set off a chain of nuclear weapon states.

And what you will then have is essentially, from Europe's borders with Russia, all the way to China, nuclear states cheek by jowl, and all it takes is one mistake.

JUDY WOODRUFF: John Mearsheimer, why wouldn't that happen, which would clearly not be a more stable situation?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER: Well, it's possible there will be some proliferation. It wouldn't bet against the fact that maybe Turkey or Saudi Arabia would acquire nuclear weapons.

But people have been predicting widespread proliferation for decades now, and it's never happened. But I think there are two reasons that it wouldn't happen. One is that the Iranians wouldn't be able to blackmail anybody in the neighborhood with their nuclear weapons.

We have created this myth in this country over the past few years in talking about Iran that any country that acquires nuclear weapons can blackmail other countries or use those nuclear weapons for offensive purposes. We have a lot of theory and a huge amount of empirical evidence, 67 years now, which show that no country with nuclear weapons can blackmail another country, as long as somebody is protecting that country or it has its own nuclear weapons.

And this leads to the second reason. The United States is going to extend its nuclear umbrella over Saudi Arabia and over Turkey, the way it extended it over Germany and Japan during the Cold War. And we will make it perfectly clear to the Iranians that they cannot blackmail anybody.

So there will be no great incentive for Turkey or for Saudi Arabia to acquire nuclear weapons. But even if they do acquire nuclear weapons, what are they going to do with them?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I will turn that back with you, and then I want to follow up with a question.


The problem is, of course, it's not likely that anybody is going to use them. But if there's any chance at all, any chance that somebody might, the more countries that have these weapons, the likelier it becomes that someone might use them.

And, in a crisis -- most people think that nuclear weapons may well ultimately be used in an Indo-Pak war. And they did go to war after they tested nuclear weapons. So the whole idea -- one of the things Waltz argues, by the way, is that countries with nuclear weapons don't go to war with each other. In fact, they do.

Even China and the Soviet Union went to war.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me ask about -- Dov Zakheim, another fundamental point. . .


JUDY WOODRUFF: . . . just quickly, that Kenneth Waltz makes.

And that is that it is not Iran that would be creating instability, but it's the existing instability created by Israel. You read what he wrote, that this longstanding -- the fact that Israel alone has had nuclear weapons has created an imbalance, and that as long as that's the case, there will be an imbalance in the region.

posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 08:50 AM
Where people go to great lengths to kill and main women and children as well as people who hail
From their own motherland who worship what I would call the same god there's a good chance that they would use a nuclear bomb if given the chance. Just waiting for the second coming of the maaaaaaaaaaadhi!

posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 09:39 AM
This is how I see it and I will try to be as honest as I can when it comes to stand over countries and their foreign policies.

I believe Iran are entitled to persue nuclear energy and that is what they are doing right now. There is no evidence of Uranium enrichment that could be used in a warhead so to me, Iran whether they are letting inspectors in or not are not doing anything wrong yet. The USA are only guessing or assuming that Iran are looking to build nuclear weapons. I don't blame them to a certain extent.

Israel who have nuclear weapons against international law are one reason. How is it that they can secretly develope nuclear weapons without being harrassed, sanctioned like the Iranians are? If I were Iran, I would be at least building them to simply counter what the Israeli's have, because when it comes down to it, Israel will need nuclear weapons if they were to go to war with Iran on their own. They could not defeat Iran and it is as simple as that.

How is it that the USA and other countries who are members of the United Nations can dictate to Iran when they have the weapons they accuse Iran of trying to build? What use is any nuclear weapon to humanity? Wouldn't it be easier to disarm the lot of them and leave it at that. If Iran apparently still want to persue them, then take them out. I am sick of listening to the propaganda that is being thrown at Iran, even Syria... It is a joke.

Too the above poster. Have you ever seen a woman religious leader at the Vatican? What about the high priests and representatives of western religion who molest children because they believe they will never get caught... This issue is not about Iran because it simply happens all over the world. Africa, Asia and even in our own countries by sickos who think they can get away with it.

I understand some of the laws (Sharia) are a bit cruel, but whether we like it or not, they are not our laws and it certainly isn't our country. Its none of our business. Most of the time those people have broken the law in Iran. The death penalty is rampant in Asian countries, In some states in America ( correct me if I'm wrong).The same can be said about Saudi Arabia. Is it right to ignore what happens there because the USA is a close ally?

The hypocracy is unbelievable. We have children dying in the thousands in Afrca on a daily basis yet we are worried about a country who have never attacked anyone in modern history including Israel. Not even terrorists could keep up with the amount of people dying in African countries through starvation and disease,,, We have bigger problems than a two bit regime in Iran.

Here is a reason why they may think it is the end of days. In the bible, a war starts in the middle east. This is happening now. Maybe they can see where this entire situation is heading and they are getting ready for the fight of their lives like the Syrians are right now. If Israel attack Iran, they will be right, so what they are saying about the Mahdi isn't as stupid or insane as you think. I wish I could be an Iranian for one day and see things from their point of view and see what I would be facing on the other side of the fence.

When it comes to mainstream crap, I do not believe anything the report about. I even disagree that the Iranian regime are a dictatorship like we are told. When it comes down to it it is all hot gas until someone decides to make the first move and then we should start worrying. Going by Irans recent history, The USA will be waiting for eternity for Iran to fire the first shot. Going off US history, I have my bet on them or Israel.

posted on Jul, 14 2012 @ 09:57 AM

Originally posted by Sounds_of_Silence
Where people go to great lengths to kill and main women and children as well as people who hail
From their own motherland who worship what I would call the same god there's a good chance that they would use a nuclear bomb if given the chance. Just waiting for the second coming of the maaaaaaaaaaadhi!

How many innocent civilians has Iran killed? I see thousands of people killed by the US and hundreds killed by Israelis. For some strange reason, Iran hasn't killed many.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 08:14 AM
reply to post by DarknStormy

For the sake of discussion I will try to underline some of your statements?

There is no evidence of Uranium enrichment that could be used in a warhead so to me, Iran whether they are letting inspectors in or not are not doing anything wrong yet.

Is there no evidence? Is it not true that Iran is enriching Uranium to 20% (useful for medical purposes) and which is a stones through to weapons grade enrichment.

Isn't the fact that they have extensive and well protected nuclear enrichment facilities underground (possible inpenetratable by an Israeli attack, if not yet at least within the next 6 months, but not by a US attack) an admission of ill intent to some degree?

Isn't failure to let inspectors in a violation of the treaty of non-proliferation which Iran is a signatory to, as the IAEA has pointed out numerous times.

Israel who have nuclear weapons against international law are one reason.

What international law is that? I am not aware of any violations of international law carried out by Israel, other than its failure to relinquish the Palestinian territories and the disproportionate force used on civilians. But at least no relating to nuclear proliferation. It is not illegal if your not a signatory to any treaties which forbid it, which Israel is not.

Wouldn't it be easier to disarm the lot of them and leave it at that.

The point Mearsheimer brings up (and rather cynically too) is that Nuclear weapons are weapons of peace as they often prevent actual conflict as was the case with MAD during the cold war. Does this argument have any traction in the Middle East where control would be far less extensive and non-governmental organisations such as terrorist groups could potentially have access to such weapons, even if the government didn't want them too. There is such fear around Pakistan.

I think the most substantial part of this discussion is the question "are nuclear weapons tools of peace and stability?" The implications would be massive and it is difficult to fathom weapons, which are inherently unstable and dangerous, being used as factors of peace and stability. Very interesting.

posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 10:42 PM
reply to post by SpeachM1litant

Israel will not allow their weapons to be inspected by the IAEA... If I were speaking about Iran, it would be a crime against the internatioal community. They should be sactioned and dealt the same punishment as Iran even though Iran have stated that they have no intention of building nuclear weapons.

Yes they have enriched uranium to possibly 20%, but that doesn't mean they deserve to be blown to the stone age simply because the USA and Israel assume they are going to build weapons.

Iran have not invaded any country that I can see for a very long time. Where you agree or not, The USA and Israel are accountable for lose of millions of lives in the same timeframe Iran have killed no-one except maybe people in their own country. Again, most have broken the law and whether it is right or wrong, it has nothing to do with sticky beak pricks anyway.

Again, Hyprocites. Whats good for one is good for another and if yous are in tears over Iran building nuclear weapons, set the standard and disarm all of your nuclear weapons before you dictate to anyone else.

A nuclear Iran could possibly bring stability to the region, but when you have those Zionists poking fingers all the time, I don't see stability until they are pulled aside and told to back up. Israel are the problem, not Iran.
edit on 15-7-2012 by DarknStormy because: (no reason given)

edit on 15-7-2012 by DarknStormy because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 16 2012 @ 06:27 AM
reply to post by DarknStormy

The difference is that Israel is not a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty whereas Iran is. That is a voluntary treaty that imposes obligations such as inspection, so according to the law, in this case Israel hasn't committed any violations of international law, although I can imagine it would be pretty easy to argue that they have in other areas.

Iran have stated that they have no intention of building nuclear weapons.

Well, as we all know. In the world of politics, statements tend to not be met by actions. You don't need half a brain and some logic to figure that out. I am not saying it is Iran's intention to build nuclear weapons, perhaps the simply want the ability to build one within 3-6 months similiar as Japans ability. However, there actions may be cause for concern. Simply for the sake of discussion, dosen't the fact that Russia and China, both Iran's strongest international allies outside of the Middle East, have signaled concern over Iran's nuclear program possibly hint to some well-founded concern? After all China itself agreed to sanctions on Iran, of course after it negotiated exemptions so it can continue to receive oil from Iran.

Yes they have enriched uranium to possibly 20%, but that doesn't mean they deserve to be blown to the stone age simply because the USA and Israel assume they are going to build weapons.

That is a logical conclusion, one which I agree. I have a few question for you there... Is it perhaps logical to take no action in stopping Iran acquiring nuclear weaponary? Are a few well placed tactical strikes on nuclear facilities really that violent that you can equate it with blowing them back into the stone age (assuming death woould be limited to those working on those particular nuclear sites suspected of enriching Uranium, some soldiers and a limited number of civilians- given that these sites are away from large population areas)?

It's certainly true that more death is on the hands of Israel and the US combined, although Iran did kill a large number of Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war, however Iran was attacked first, thus in princple it fought in self defence and the lives lost due to Irans sponsorhip of terrorism (Hizb' Allah and Hamas) appears to be rather low due to the inefficiency and often incompentency of these organisations.

A nuclear Iran could possibly bring stability to the region

Once again, for the sake of discussion. How?
edit on 16-7-2012 by SpeachM1litant because: (no reason given)


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