Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cost Of Containment

At the same incredible instant that Persia's little rocketeer whines to the Un that Great Satan should be punished for shameful nukey naughtiness, news broke hot! intell that Great Satan has 5,113 new clear war heads with several K in reserve.

Madame Sec HRC smacked boo tay that Mullahopolis' hand picked pres "...offered the same tired, false, and sometimes wild accusations against the United States and other parties at this conference.

"But that’s not surprising. As you all heard this morning, Iran will do whatever it can to divert attention away from its own record and to attempt to evade accountability."

There is, of course, much debate concerning what to do about Iran and the regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The policy proposals most frequently debated by wonks are: (1) sanctions, (2) military strikes, (3) working with, or at least supporting, the Iranian people in their efforts to overthrow the regime, (4) containment, and (5) do nothing. These are not mutually exclusive options, of course, but each comes with its own primary tactic and should come with a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

Thinking through the costs of a "containment" strategy, similar to that used to contain the Soviet empire. This piece points out that the situation is very different from the Cold War, during which America was up against a legitimate super power as opposed to a "Third World upstart."

In recent months, however, the "contain Iran" strategy has garnered new prominence with very little thought (until Anton's piece) given to the costs of containment.

"The unstated (and probably unrealized) assumption underlying the contain-Iran argument is that, once Tehran is nuclear, America will have to get tougher.

"But how likely is that? If we won’t confront Iran over the killing of American soldiers now, why would our national spine get any stiffer in the face of a threat of nuclear retaliation?

"If we won’t do anything to stop Iran from getting the bomb, why should anyone believe that we will suddenly grow bolder once Iran actually has the bomb?