Almost everyone seems to believe that Iran must be prevented at all costs from acquiring nuclear weapons. But, while every effort should be made to dissuade Iran from “going nuclear,” the floodgates to nuclear proliferation would not open if such efforts fail; a more likely outcome would be a “balance of terror” between Israel and Iran, as exists between India and Pakistan.
Would it be a great disaster if Iran had nuclear weapons? As a habitual contrarian, I pose the question because almost everyone seems to believe that it would, and that it must be prevented at all costs. But is that true?
John Bolton, the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, said in April that “if the choice is [Iran] continuing [towards a nuclear bomb] or the use of force, I think you’re at a Hitler marching into the Rhineland point.” Bush, too, has compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler.
But these so-called statesmen never consider what might have happened had Germany and Britain both had nuclear weapons in 1939. Would Hitler, wicked as he was, have gone to war had he faced an assured threat of total destruction? Have we forgotten all about the theory of deterrence?
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China’s success in the next five years will depend largely on how well the government manages the tensions underlying its complex agenda. In particular, China’s leaders will need to balance a muscular Communist Party, setting standards and protecting the public interest, with an empowered market, driving the economy into the future.
The preference of some countries to isolate themselves within their borders is anachronistic and self-defeating, but it would be a serious mistake for others, fearing contagion, to respond by imposing strict isolation. Even in states that have succumbed to reductionist discourses, much of the population has not.
When the Bretton Woods Agreement was hashed out in 1944, it was agreed that countries with current-account deficits should be able to limit temporarily purchases of goods from countries running surpluses. In the ensuing 73 years, the so-called "scarce-currency clause" has been largely forgotten; but it may be time to bring it back.
Republican leaders have a choice: they can either continue to collaborate with President Donald Trump, thereby courting disaster, or they can renounce him, finally putting their country’s democracy ahead of loyalty to their party tribe. They are hardly the first politicians to face such a decision.
As the global economic recovery strengthens, and central banks move to raise interest rates, they need to improve their communication with the general public. To do that, they should follow the trail blazed by Donald Trump.
With talks on the UK's withdrawal from the EU stalled, negotiators should shift to the temporary “transition” Prime Minister Theresa May officially requested last month. Above all, the negotiators should focus immediately on the British budget contributions that will be required to make an orderly transition possible.
In recent decades, as President Vladimir Putin has entrenched his authority, Russia has seemed to be moving backward socially and economically. But while the Kremlin knows that it must reverse this trajectory, genuine reform would be incompatible with the kleptocratic character of Putin’s regime.
As a part of their efforts to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, congressional Republicans have approved a measure that would have courts, rather than regulators, oversee megabank bankruptcies. It is now up to the Trump administration to decide if it wants to set the stage for a repeat of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.