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Published on October 29th, 2012


#1 Political Scientist Kenneth Waltz: “Iran Should Get the Bomb!”

In a commentary in the summer issue of Foreign Affairs the famous Columbia professor Kenneth Waltz argues in favor of an Iranian nuclear program.

“Iranian policy is made by […] perfectly sane ayatollahs” is how Waltz describes the leadership in Tehran. In his comment he states that the region needs a counterweight to Israeli nuclear capabilities. When Iran gets the weapons, terrorism and warfare will, according to Waltz, disappear. His old argument, which he now has applied to this hot potato, is that the spread of nuclear weapons leads to a more peaceful and safe world.

However, Waltz has clearly missed the major difference between the Ayatollahs in Tehran and leaders in other countries with nuclear capabilities: This government is ruled by conservative Islamic priests who do not accept the presence of an Israeli state.

Israeli sources reply that Waltz’ theory does not apply to radical Islamic states like Iran, and many political scientists shake their heads in disbelief after the professor’s escapade.

Popular Social Science will have a cautious eye on future development in the Middle-East.

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2 Responses to #1 Political Scientist Kenneth Waltz: “Iran Should Get the Bomb!”

  1. Knut says:

    Waltz has certainly not missed “the major difference”. Rather, he would argue that this major difference is nothing but smoke and mirrors, that anti-Israel talk (bordering on the genocidal) is for domestic purposes, and that the Iranian leaders – like leaders more generally – are rational actors. One can disagree with this (and many, if not most, do), but the characterization of Waltz that appears here seems more like a straw-man than anything else.

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