Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 2, 2012/12 Tammuz, 5772

No danger in a nuclear Iran? Seriously?

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Are you concerned about Tehran's drive for nuclear weapons? Political scientist Kenneth Waltz isn't. A senior research scholar at Columbia University and former president of the American Political Science Association, Waltz writes in the new issue of Foreign Affairs that it's time we learned to stop worrying and love the Iranian bomb.

Waltz's piece -- prominently featured on the cover of the Council on Foreign Relations' flagship journal -- is headlined "Why Iran Should Get the Bomb." The US government and its allies in Europe, Israel, and the Arab world may regard the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran as the gravest security threat the world currently faces. But Waltz, a leader of the neo-realist school of international relations, urges all of them to take a chill pill. Nukes in the hands of the mullahs would not be the worst outcome of the present crisis, he argues. "In fact, it would probably be the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East."

In a nutshell, Waltz's view is that what makes the Middle East dangerously unstable is that while Israel has nuclear weapons, its most fanatical enemies don't. "It is Israel's nuclear arsenal, not Iran's desire for one, that has contributed most to the current crisis," he writes. "Power, after all, begs to be balanced."

But wouldn't a violent and extremist regime like Iran's -- a key patron of international terrorism, a brutal suppressor of human rights, an exporter of jihad, and an open exponent of wiping Israel "off the map" -- be even more dangerous if its ballistic missiles were topped with nuclear warheads? On the contrary, says Waltz: "History shows that when countries acquire the bomb, they feel increasingly vulnerable and become acutely aware that their nuclear weapons make them a potential target in the eyes of major powers. This awareness discourages nuclear states from bold and aggressive action."

Nor does Waltz lie awake at night worrying about a nuclear proliferation spiral should Tehran get the bomb. "Once Iran crosses the nuclear threshold, deterrence will apply," he assures his readers. "No other country in the region will have an incentive to acquire its own nuclear capability, and the current crisis will finally dissipate."

If Waltz's breezy nonchalance (a condensed version was published under the headline "Iranian nukes? No worries") strikes you as outlandish, you aren't alone. Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum calls it "the single most preposterous analysis by an allegedly serious strategist of the Iranian quest for a nuclear weapon." To the American Enterprise Institute's Gary Schmitt, a former staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it recalls Alfred E. Neuman's mantra: "What, me worry?" The notion that Israel's nuclear capability destabilizes the Middle East is almost self-refuting: Would a non-nuclear Israel be less vulnerable to attack -- or more so?

As for the calming effect of an Iranian bomb, that's hard to square with the Arab world's alarm at the prospect: "If Iran develops a nuclear weapon," Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal has warned, "we will have to follow suit."

Yet the appeal of Waltz's view should not be underestimated, especially as the West approaches the ultimate red line -- the moment when Iran's nuclear facilities will be too far advanced to be taken out in a pre-emptive strike. Faced with the prospect of military action to stop an evil regime, there will always be those hungry for reassurance that everything will work out as long as we do nothing.

Waltz has been preaching his more-nukes-are-safer-nukes sermon for quite some time. "It's been proven without exception," he insisted in 2007, "that whoever gets nuclear weapons behaves with caution and moderation." As far back as 1981 he was arguing that "the measured spread of nuclear weapons is more to be welcomed than feared."

But Iran is not like Russia, India, China, or the other existing members of the nuclear club. Time and again Iran has called explicitly for the extermination of Israel, while making clear that it sees nuclear weapons as a practical means to that end. "The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything," Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani baldly explained in 2001. "However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." Tehran still contemplates it. Just weeks ago, a news release from Iran's FARS News Agency was headlined: "Top Commander Reiterates Iran's Commitment to Full Annihilation of Israel."

Let a regime that hungers for apocalypse and genocide get the bomb? Welcome it? Even Dr. Strangelove wouldn't go that far.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2010, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles