Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Iran - to strike or not to strike

Adam Garfinkle editor of The American Interest spoke at the University of Texas, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, about an American strike on Iran, the likelihood of such a strike and the measure to which such a strike would be good or bad. UChannel Podcast recorded and published the lecture.

The first part of the question is answered very briefly: no. The US is not likely to strike Iran. There are too many uncertainties around such a venture; the chances of success, the amount of time it would take and the effects it may have. The government and the president himself will not want to go on such a path and rather 'hedge' as Garfinkle calls it. I understand he means by this a policy of small backstage activities and wait and see.

A much larger part of the lecture is spent on the question whether the US should attack Iran. The point of such a strike would be to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power. This questions receives neither a clear negative, nor a clear positive answer. The frightening thing is that one gets the feeling a pre-emptive strike in order to maintain the delicate balance in the region, might seem the better option. The risks are not downplayed at all, the risks of allowing Iran to acquire even a weapon, though nuclear, of negligible power, appear worse. Too many other players around who'd press for the same. Too many elements to disturb the balance.

Previously noted UChannel podcasts:
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,
The Popperian pathway,
Less Safe, Less Free (Losing the War on Terror),
Beyond the Genome: the challenge of synthetic biology,
Israel, Iran, terrorism (UC podcast).

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