October 25, 2007

A Nuclear Iran

Filed under: Politics — Bob Gifford @ 8:17 pm

So I have a question. I’m no foreign policy guy, have no expertise in nuclear proliferation, Iran, or terrorism. I may be naive. Scratch that — I am most certainly naive. But still…why are we so afraid of Iran having a nuke?

If Iran were to develop a nuclear bomb, the U.S. would point a small fraction of our nuclear arsenal at Tehran, say a mere thousand warheads or so. We would make it clear to Iran that, should they use a nuclear missile on anyone, anywhere, we will use ours on them. Unlike with the old USSR, this isn’t mutually assured destruction, since only one side would be destroyed, and it wouldn’t be us.

But what if Iran gave a nuclear bomb to a terrorist group that then used it on Israel? I would think Iran would understand that they would be held responsible for any nuclear attack on Israel, even if it didn’t originate from a missile silo on Iranian soil.

Nuclear proliferation is a really really bad thing, but nuclear bombs are not a particularly useful weapon if you value your country’s continued survival.

So my point isn’t that a nuclear Iran wouldn’t be a bad thing, or that we should threaten Iran with nuclear annihilation. But I’m just asking: why do we think Iran would use a nuclear weapon when the biggest, baddest nuclear power in the world, the U.S., could reasonably be expected to retaliate in kind? Why are we so afraid of Iran having a nuke?

Can anyone explain it to me?

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