Published on October 29th, 20127
Why Iran Should Not Get the Nuclear Bomb
By Joachim Vogt Isaksen
In this issue Popular Social Science covers the ongoing debate around Iran´s aspirations to develop nuclear weapons. Concerns have been raised around possible consequences of the scenario of a new nuclear power in the Middle East, and Professor Kenneth Waltz argues in this summer´s issue of Foreign Affairs that there are rational arguments for the support of Iran´s nuclear ambitions.
He states that this would probably be the best possible result and the one most likely to restore stability in the Middle East, by endorsing the balance of power. Waltz has earlier argued that nuclear weapons is the most valuable deterrence weapons ever invented, and that their spread would make major wars considerably less likely.
Waltz is one of the major figures within international relations, but on this occasion he is not only wrong but he is also morally irresponsible. Recommending the spread of mass destructive weapons could never be justified, and leaving nuclear weapons in the hands of dictators such as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be one of the world’s worst ideas right now.
Ahmadinejad has become publicly infamous for his open disregard of the UN Security Council on the nuclear issue, his brutal oppression of his own Iranian citizens, his speeches regarding Jews and the state of Israel, and his political visions of Iran as a future dominant power in the Middle East. As late as the 24th of September this year he stated that Israel “has no roots in the Middle East and would be eliminated”.
Recommending that irresponsible and repressive leaders should get the nuclear bomb is as reckless as if Churchill had allowed Hitler to get the bomb for “peace balancing” reasons. Following Waltz`s logic one would assume that if nuclear weapons make nations more peaceful, then every nation should have them as a lasting guarantee to peace.
Taking his conclusion to the extremes would mean that one could argue that there would be a decrease in the threat of terrorism if one allowed Al-Qaeda and other violent terrorist groups to acquire nuclear weapons.
Allowing even more nations to develop the most deadly and destructive weapon ever invented will not make the world more secure and peaceful. Some argue that since nuclear weapons have not been used during the last 65 years it proves their stabilizing effect. But still one need not go longer back than to the Cuban crisis where later released historical evidence shows that it was only by chance that nuclear war did not occur.
Kennedy, Khrusjtsjov, and Castro were all rational individuals who did not want this outcome, but following a series of misunderstandings it was after all luck that prevented nuclear war from taking place. People often seem to forget or simply deny that the same risk also exists today. With history still in mind it is of great importance to be reminded that humanitarian considerations and human security should be of a higher concern than short-term security policy advice.