Subscribe via RSS Feed

All Iran, All the Time

[ 11 ] November 17, 2011 |

My final entry into the Yale Journal Iran nuclear debate is up:

Ackerman and Cohen accept many of these lies at face value. Ackerman apparently believes that the autocrats in Bahrain would not have suppressed demonstrators, but for the specter of Iran. Dead protestors in dozens of states not threatened by Iran might wonder whether the Bahraini government is telling the truth about its motivations. He and Cohen believe that the Israelis will act irrationally, mostly because the Israelis insist that they will act irrationally. To my mind, the Israeli response to the Iranian nuclear program has been quite rational; they have pursued low cost, relatively low impact ways of disrupting the Iranian nuclear program, all while repeatedly insisting to their patron state that they are extremely concerned, and will very soon be launching a disruptive attack that could destabilize the whole region, and wouldn’t it be better if the Americans solved the problem? There is nothing even mildly irrational about this strategy, and there is no reason whatsoever to suspect that the Israelis will become more irrational, or the Bahrainis less autocratic, after an Iranian nuclear test.

Also see Michael’s excellent, long comment defending his perspective.

On last night’s Alyona, I discussed the same issue:

Comments (11)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. The first lesson of nuclear diplomacy is that everyone lies…This pattern is repeated over, and over, and over, throughout the history of nuclear proliferation. The practitioners of nuclear diplomacy ply an honorable trade, but their duty is to lie, and they do so quite well.

    This would make a fantastic theme for a Don DeLillo novel.

    • wiley says:

      Yes. They lie to and amongst themselves even. Quite the nameless, faceless, unaccountable Hydra MAD was. If anything, the first five nuclear powers (that just happen to be the Security Council) do quite the job of taking their status as a nuclear threat so for granted that every other country in the world is supposed to ignore it, as well.

  2. [...] Yale Journal, at least) to Spencer Ackerman and Michael Cohen is up over at the Yale Daily News (via). Bascially, Ackerman and Cohen are overestimating the effects of Iranian nukes because [...]

  3. wengler says:

    You made a mistake in considering the Israeli leadership rational. This is the same leadership that coordinates rightwing attacks on Obama with neocons.

    • Njorl says:

      Their arguments are irrational, but the effects those arguments produce make the behaviour of offering those arguments rational.

    • It’s very much in Israel’s interests to keep up a pro-Zionist drumbeat in American politics. It’s very rational for them to attack political figures they deem insufficiently hawkish and pro-Israel.

    • Murc says:

      Coordinating rightwing attacks on Obama with neocons is deeply rational. The Israeli leadership would prefer an American President who signs checks and will wield his veto in the U.N aggressively. And they’d prefer he do that enthusiastically, because he BELIEVES, than reluctantly, because of politics. And there’s literally no downside to coordinating those attacks.

      I would do the EXACT same thing in their position. It’s a strong play.

  4. Njorl says:

    You need to find a different frame to freeze it on for the static shot. You look a little deranged in that one.

  5. HMS Glowworm did 9/11 says:

    [Israel has] pursued low cost, relatively low impact ways of disrupting the Iranian nuclear program, all while repeatedly insisting to their patron state that they are extremely concerned, and will very soon be launching a disruptive attack that could destabilize the whole region, and wouldn’t it be better if the Americans solved the problem?

    Assuming that “solving the problem” means military action, this may be a rational position, but it’s still a very stupid one. And one that has a nontrivial chance of actually materially effecting Israel and the region’s security for the worse.

    You’re totally right, though, that once Iran actually has nukes the actual destabilizing effect will be small — threats to use nukes over the first crisis will be less credible than threats to close Hormuz, and the latter has hardly constrained Israel in the past. There’s also the fact the only state in the region likely to pursue its own nuclear program in response lost the capability to do so in 1991, and stopped existing entirely in 2003.

    Still, I’m somewhat worried about the way Israel thinks about deterrence. Any country that would give BMD a nontrivial role in ensuring its own second strike capability looks at least a little kooky.

    • HMS Glowworm did 9/11 says:

      Just to clarify, I didn’t mean to imply that Israel acts irrationally, merely that giving Arrow a prominent role makes me worry that their force structure and strategy are determined more by domestic politics and the bullshit industrial complex than by reality.

      Y’know, like us.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

  • Switch to our mobile site