The debate over how to handle Iran’s nuclear program is notable for its gloom and doom. Many people assume that Israel must choose between letting Iran develop nuclear weapons or attacking before it gets the bomb. But this is a false choice. There is a third option: working toward a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. And it is more feasible than most assume.
Attacking Iran might set its nuclear program back a few years, but it will most likely encourage Iran to aggressively seek — and probably develop — nuclear weapons. Slowing Iran down has some value, but the costs are high and the risks even greater.… Seguir leyendo »
Just 13 minutes into his presidency, Barack Obama indirectly reached out to Iran in his inaugural address, offering America’s hand of friendship if Tehran would unclench its fist. After eight years of the George W. Bush administration’s ideological contempt for diplomacy with America’s foes, it was a bold move born out of necessity, not desire.
But Obama’s diplomacy has fallen short. After two rounds of talks in October 2009, in which Tehran refused to accept a U.S. confidence-building measure to exchange its low-enriched uranium in return for fuel for a medical research reactor, the sanctions track was activated. Ever since, Iran and the United States have been on a confrontational path.… Seguir leyendo »
The perennial conflict between Iran and the West has entered a dangerous new phase, with tensions rising in the Persian Gulf since Iran has threatened retaliation for last week’s assassination of a chemical engineer linked to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. What accounts for Iran’s behavior? Behind all the sound and fury, Tehran is diligently pursuing a three-track policy that involves provocation of the international community and making noises about diplomacy as it relentlessly marches toward the bomb.
In recent months, the Islamic Republic has engaged in conduct that has confounded even its most seasoned observers. Shortly after a critical International Atomic Energy Agency report published in November was followed by threats of sanctions by the European Union, Basij militias masquerading as students stormed the British embassy in Tehran that month.… Seguir leyendo »
La escalada de tensión suscitada en torno al desarrollo del programa nuclear iraní, sospechoso de ocultar finalidades militares, crece por momentos. Frente a las sanciones comerciales impuestas por Estados Unidos, que podrían endurecerse en breve, y al inminente embargo petrolero acordado por la Unión Europea, Irán amenaza con bloquear el estrecho de Ormuz, un paso vital para el transporte mundial de crudo, combinando su habitual agresividad verbal con maniobras militares intimidatorias.
El “arma del petróleo” vuelve a ser esgrimida y, en consecuencia, la cotización del crudo está experimentando una tendencia alcista que, de mantenerse, podría lastrar el crecimiento económico global, amén de suponer una dificultad añadida para todos aquellos países que, como el nuestro, pugnan por salir de una coyuntura de grave crisis económica y financiera.… Seguir leyendo »
Tema: El European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) es lo que hoy conocemos como el sistema antimisiles europeo de EEUU que Barack Obama lanzó en sustitución de la denominada “tercera pata” de George W. Bush.
Resumen: Durantes décadas EEUU ha tratado de desarrollar sistemas de defensa antimisil, unos más enfocados a la protección del territorio nacional y otros a la cobertura de las tropas en el exterior y de los aliados. La Administración Obama anunció en septiembre de 2009 un nuevo dispositivo antimisiles en Europa, del que España formará parte, y del que se analizan los aspectos técnicos y políticos. Es además la aportación norteamericana a la OTAN como parte de un futuro escudo aliado.… Seguir leyendo »
The West and Iran are playing a dangerous game. In the past ten days, Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz and warned the United States against sending an aircraft carrier back into the Persian Gulf. The US predictably responded that its aircraft carriers could and would patrol wherever necessary to promote freedom of navigation. Iran then announced that it would conduct naval exercises in the Strait.
In the game of “chicken,” two cars drive straight at each other at top speed; either one driver “chickens out” and swerves, or they collide in a fireball. Governments around the world cannot stand by and watch that game play out across the world’s energy lifeline.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the last three years, as I delved into the world of American nuclear weapons, I felt increasingly as though I had stepped into a time warp. Despite the nearly total rearrangement of the international security landscape since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the rise of Islamic terrorism and the spread of nuclear materials and technology to volatile nations like Pakistan, North Korea and Iran, the Defense Department remains enthralled by cold war nuclear strategies and practices.
Barack Obama took office determined to change that. He has made progress on many fronts. Last week, he outlined a new, no-frills defense strategy, downsizing conventional forces.… Seguir leyendo »
“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”
— Archibald MacLeish, 1945,preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO
The American people hear from government officials and presidential candidates nearly every day about military action against Iran. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said that the United States and Israel would not allow Iran to get a bomb. Are these words standard fare for an election year? A strategy to restrain Israel from unilateral action? Or do these threats signify that war is in the “minds of men”?
Conservative ideologues taste the possibility that a leader whom they might influence may return to the White House.… Seguir leyendo »
Now that U.S. troops have left Iraq, Americans are taking stock of the staggering price of this nine-year war of choice, in blood (nearly 4,500 Americans dead, 33,000 wounded), in fractured relations worldwide and in monetary terms (nearly $1 trillion in direct spending; several times that when counting the fivefold increase in oil prices, the long-term cost of caring for veterans and wounded, and the replacement of weapons and equipment — a total that may top the cost of World War II).
An additional casualty is the loss of a mechanism for enforcing nonproliferation agreements, though how this might have changed the course of subsequent events — in Iran, for example — cannot be known.… Seguir leyendo »
“Anyone who is thinking of attacking Iran should be prepared for powerful blows and iron fists.” So declared Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Nov. 10, speaking in response to reports that Israel may strike Iran’s nuclear plants. But the risk of tit-for-tat attacks raises a specter few seem to recognize: the first radiological war in history.
General Masoud Jazayeri, deputy commander of Iran’s armed forces, indicated what “blows” and “fists” could mean when he warned last month that Dimona — the center of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program — was “the most accessible target.”
The significance of the threat goes beyond the risk to Israel’s nuclear weapons program.… Seguir leyendo »
As developing nations begin building dozens of nu- clear reactors to meet growing energy demands, the United States is on the verge of losing its leadership in one nuclear segment that will weaken our national security: our ability to provide energy and our capacity to discourage the spread of nuclear weapons.
Right now, approximately 60 nuclear reactors are under construction around the world, many of them in developing countries. China plans to grow from 9 gigawatts to as much as 200 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2030, and the Gulf Cooperation Council is weighing growing from zero to 50 gigawatts over the same time period.… Seguir leyendo »
A primera vista, Israel y EE UU están unidos en su oposición a los supuestos planes de desarrollo de armamento nuclear iraní. Oficialmente, Estados Unidos considera inaceptables las intenciones de Irán y no descarta un ataque militar. Las acciones secretas de EE UU contra ese país (“secretas” pero descritas ante multitud de periodistas de probada lealtad imperial) siguen en marcha. A los aliados de Estados Unidos no se les deja de instar a ampliar las sanciones económicas antiiraníes que algunos han aceptado imponer. Muchas destacadas figuras de la Administración estadounidense creen a pies juntillas a Israel cuando proclama que Irán constituye una amenaza mortal para su existencia, como si el propio arsenal nuclear israelí no significara nada.… Seguir leyendo »
In September 1991, President George H.W. Bush announced a series of sweeping measures fundamentally reshaping the American nuclear arsenal. One of them called for all U.S. ground-force tactical nuclear weaponsto be returned from overseas bases and dismantled. Similarly, all tactical nuclear weapons on surface ships and attack submarines, as well as those associated with land-based naval aircraft, were to be withdrawn.
Eight days later, President Mikhail Gorbachev reciprocated, declaring that similar steps would be taken for Soviet nuclear forces.
As a result of these so-called Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, or P.N.I.’s, thousands of nuclear weapons on both sides were ultimately taken out of service and in some cases eliminated altogether — all based on unilateral, parallel actions, and all without an arms control treaty.… Seguir leyendo »
Indonesia’s parliament has just taken a historic step, one that makes the planet safer from the threat of nuclear weapons. The importance of Indonesia’s decision to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty cannot be overstated. This is a golden opportunity for the remaining eight countries to endorse the CTBT, enabling it to come into legal effect.
For the five decades following World War II, a nuclear test shook and irradiated the planet on average every nine days. This era was ended in 1996, when the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. But, for the CTBT to enter into force, all 44 states specified as holders of nuclear technology must ratify it.… Seguir leyendo »
As recent events underscore the growing Iranian nuclear threat, the Obama administration appears to be pivoting toward a policy of containment. The emphasis of its rhetoric has shifted from preventing an “unacceptable” nuclear Iran to “isolating” it. When coupled with recent weaker action against Iran, we fear it signals a tacit policy change.
A few days after his election, President Obama called a nuclear Iran “unacceptable.” In February 2009, he pledged “to use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.” By the next year, after a first round of negotiations with Iran had failed and the United Nations and Congress passed tougher sanctions, that pledge had softened.… Seguir leyendo »
Attention has returned to the potential nuclear threat building in Iran. It has long been assumed that the regime seeks the bomb for its deterrent power or as a means of projecting influence in a politically volatile region. As important as these considerations may be, Iranian nuclear calculations are predicated on a distinctly domestic calculus: The Islamic Republic perceives it can reclaim its international standing better with the bomb than without one. Instead of conceding to intrusive U.N. resolutions or amending their behavior on issues of terrorism and regional subversion, Iran’s rulers sense that once they obtain the bomb, they can return to the international fold on their own terms.… Seguir leyendo »
Afghanistan expects U.S. aid to flow without interruption for six more years following the final U.S. troop withdrawal at the end of 2014 – three years hence. By itself, the U.S.-trained and U.S.-fielded Afghan army will require $5 billion to $7 billion a year in U.S. support to field an army of 350,000 in a country the size of France. Nothing is less certain.
With major defense cuts now in the works, the Pentagon will have insufficient funds to maintain current force levels in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. It certainly won’t have the wherewithal to fight a two-front war as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.… Seguir leyendo »
Durante los últimos nueve meses las autoridades iraníes se han afanado por ofrecer su propia versión de las revueltas árabes. El presidente Mahmud Ahmadineyad declaró que los levantamientos de Egipto y Túnez se inspiraban en la actitud “desafiante” de Irán frente a las potencias occidentales. Por su parte, el líder supremo iraní, el ayatolá Alí Jamenei, elogió las revueltas de Bahréin, Egipto y Túnez, calificándolas de “despertar islámico” con “objetivos y orientación islámicos”.
Esa línea argumentativa tiene solo un problema: es difícil que el experimento iraní, caracterizado por una problemática situación económica, un creciente aislamiento, una población descontenta y profundas fracturas políticas, pueda ser un modelo para los tunecinos, los sirios, los libios y los egipcios.… Seguir leyendo »
As the West ratchets up its economic pressure on Iran to halt its drive to develop nuclear weapons, the Islamic Republic’s rulers are not sitting idly by. Since Iran lacks the soft power and the economic capacity to counter Western pressure, it is likely that its leaders will resort to threats, and even to force, to prevent the West from cracking down further, as the recent attack on the British embassy in Tehran shows.
Iranian authorities claimed that angry “students” spontaneously stormed the embassy. While inside, they seized documents and set others alight, and took six embassy employees hostage. It was only much later that the crowd came under police control and the hostages were set free.… Seguir leyendo »
Parallels between Iraq’s former nuclear weapons program and the Iranian nuclear program have shaped policy debates for nearly a decade. We are still paying the costs of failing in Iraq. Israel now seems determined to make similar mistakes in Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now claims that the real Iranian threat is hidden from view, and that it is necessary to act before the window of opportunity closes for good. His solution is straightforward: a targeted strike.
Many will agree with the diagnosis, even if they are reluctant to support the proposed solution. However, these claims are misleading on historical and logical grounds.… Seguir leyendo »