The Power Of Example And Hard Cases Like Iran And North Korea
Posted by David Shorr
Our hard-liner friends are having a grand old time ridiculing the idea that reductions in US and Russian nuclear arsenals will help induce greater cooperation from Tehran and Pyongyang. The slam is popping up in so many places all at once that you start to wonder about a spin campaign. I don't know anyone who believes that nuclear arms cuts will cause a spontaneous change of heart in Iranian or North Korean leaders, but here's what I do believe:
- that disarmament moves by the nuclear 'haves' will serve the ball into their court, lessening US policy as the topic of focus in nonproliferation diplomacy and putting the spotlight squarely on the nuclear wannabes
- that living up to our end of the bargain will give us a strong argument to draw greater international support and increased pressure on Iran and North Korea
- that no regime is immune to outside pressure and that such regimes have countervailing interests that weigh against building nuclear arsenals (otherwise there wouldn't be such a hot debate in Iran over relations with the West)
- that moral authority must be combined with tough diplomacy and the remote but implicit threat of hard (conventional armed) power
- that we have many times more nuclear weapons than can be reasonably justified
- and that taking a hard line -- preserving military strength regardless of strategic rationale, issuing demands rather than bargaining hard over possible solutions -- makes even less of an impact and offers zero possibility of inducing cooperation.
In other words, we have no choice.