Issued on March 6, 2012, David Cameron amongst others raised warnings about Iranian Nuclear missile research and the danger this would pose and so on… I heard it a while after it was originally raised, but haven’t had the time to write and publish this post. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/06/iran-building-nuclear-weapon-david-cameron
The video below is really interesting when looking at nuclear missiles – who owns and has tested the most, and during what time periods. It really puts this discussion into perspective, and although this might look biased I do appreciate that a single nuclear missile could cause a disaster in the wrong hands (whoever the ‘wrong hands’ now may belong to).
Even if Iran right now might not have the best governance, or the best head of state, or the best human rights record (each topic of which you can debate for hours) but to be fair and square… the UK or America aren’t that much better in some instances, and some of them can arguably also be seen as holding power illegitimately (but this is a whole other debate). The question is what makes us trust the US, the UK, Russia, or even India and China with nuclear missiles more than we would Iran (the old rivals quarrel yet?..)?
The baseline is, the Iranian government, despite maybe being selfish or whatever you may say about them, should not launch an attack on the US if considered rational actors (which is the most basic assumption within political theory… even when talking about prisoners, so surely Iran would also be considered a rational actor). They will know that launching anything would lead to mass death; they will (most likely) die, their population will die (although some might argue that they would not care that much about them but still), their family will die and so on because the US and whoever else will not be far behind with launching missiles themselves in self-defense, maybe even ‘pre-emptively’ if such a threat was imminent, real, or extreme etc. The US is still the major power in the world and their WMDs are unchallengeable in numbers. This is the beauty of détente. No one will fire, because they both will suffer equally severe consequences (and the world in itself!) and especially with the danger of pre-emptive strikes. Despite that WMDs are horrible and their existence appalling, I really don’t see why ‘warnings’ as such needed to be issued or what the Western world is so ‘afraid’ of. If it was worth such a fuss, it would truly have been dangerous, imminent, and everyone would be sat still in their seats by their tv or radio watching the progression and turn of events right now, and because of détente, the lack of continued updates, and so on. It seems more a political stance, media hype, and fear mongering (by instilling fear to legitimise certain political actions). Yet, the possibility of Iran having nuclear weapons doesn’t seem as large a threat as it was made out to be, considering the current world of international politics.
In the words of Barry Buzan, a scholar who has written majorly on security, says:
“Typically, states will be much more aware of the threats others pose to them
than they will be of the threat they pose to others.”
I agree with Buzan’s statement, but without necessarily taking any side in the Iranian-West nuclear debate I still have to point out that in light of this argument maybe Iran has a reason to research WMDs or increase their defenses – at least if they see the US as a threat (which can also be spoken about at length). These actions in themselves might invite a greater suspicion and legitimise an invasion by the US, which again induces the reasons for Iran to bulk up their defenses creating the traditional security dilemma.
Good luck with that.
References Buzan, B., "Third World Regional Security in Structural and Historical Perspective," in B.L. Job, ed., The Insecurity Dilemma.