Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

Print Print Email Email Share Share Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close

loading...

Don’t Fear a Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East

by Steven A. Cook
April 3, 2012

Iran's President Ahmadinejad speaks during a ceremony at the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility (Caren Firouz/Courtesy Reuters) Iran's President Ahmadinejad speaks during a ceremony at the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility (Caren Firouz/Courtesy Reuters)

This article was originally published here on ForeignPolicy.com on Monday, April 3, 2012. 

On March 21, Haaretz correspondent Ari Shavit wrote a powerful op-ed in the New York Times that began with this stark and stunning claim: “An Iranian atom bomb will force Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt to acquire their own atom bombs.” Indeed, it has become axiomatic among Middle East watchers, nonproliferation experts, Israel’s national security establishment, and a wide array of U.S. government officials that Iranian proliferation will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. President Barack Obama himself, in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last month, said that if Iran went nuclear, it was “almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon.”

Multiple nuclear powers on a hair trigger in the Middle East — the most volatile region on earth, and one that is undergoing massive political change — is a nightmare scenario for U.S. and other security planners, who have never before confronted a challenge of such magnitude. But thankfully, all the dire warnings about uncontrolled proliferation are — if not exactly science fiction — further from reality than Shavit and Obama indicate. There are very good reasons for the international community to meet the challenge that Iran represents, but Middle Eastern nuclear dominoes are not one of them.

Click here to read more.

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required