(Not) Understanding Iran

[tweetmeme] Stephen Walt has been a (perhaps the only) mainstream voice of reason when discussing the Iranian regime. His recent post exhibits his usual logic and calmness.  Unfortunately, such rationality does not seem to be present in the current administration, or at the editors desk for the New York Times, Newsweek, or WSJ.  I plan to write a more extensive entry regarding the Iranian regime and the threat-or lack thereof.  However, some brief thoughts will do.

I have just finished Stephen Kinzer’s book All The Shah’s Men and have begun reading his Overthrow. Both books give a detailed history of U.S.-Iranian relations; a history that is essential in understanding contemporary animosities between the U.S. and Iran.  More on this later; however, I wanted to mention both books as fantastic reads for understanding the current regime in Iran.

What is relevant here is to remind those reading this blog that the Iranian regime did not come to fruition in a vacuum.  U.S. intervention in the region, and in Iran in particular, have driven many to be skeptical of U.S. intentions-even when, rarely, they are benign.  Iran may be developing nuclear weapons; they may not be.  Let’s assume for a moment that they are.  Why would Iran seek such weapons given the extreme international isolation that comes with them?  The answer is quite simple; to act as a deterrent.

Any reader who is familiar with International Relations Theory  literature will surely understand this.  Nuclear weapons prove conventional power to be useless.  The overwhelming military strength of the U.S., then, has become counter-productive Iran realizes that it will never be able to match, dollar for dollar, what the U.S. spends on defense.  The only way to counter-balance such an uneven distribution of power is to develop WMDs.  It follows, then, that U.S. bolstering and posturing is directly leading to Iran’s desire to acquire such weapons.

We must remember that our actions around the globe do not come without consequence.  Attacking Iran will only further mistrust and terror in the region.  Israel and the U.S. have, to some degree, added to the incentive for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.  If we wish to stop this acquisition the U.S. must undergo a serious policy change.  More to follow…

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3 thoughts on “(Not) Understanding Iran

  1. hit the nail on the head–nukes are the currency for got getting pushed around these days.

    Look at NK, Cuba in 62 and Libya before it though in the towel. NUKES help level the playing field–and for Iran, do wonders for freaking the Israeli Jews.

  2. very true, the US’ shah puppeteering created this… and now we have geniuses wanting to speculate about Iranian weaponry capability/WMDs to have an excuse for military action… hasn’t the US learned anything??
    ill be sure to check out All the Shah’s Men

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