Yesterday Iran announced that it has been able to enrich uranium to 3.5%, enough to fuel a reactor but not a bomb. And nuclear energy is Iran’s stated intention, but of course the quest for nuclear energy is just Kabuki theater that nations put on for the world when they want the bomb. So can we live with an Iran that has the bomb?
“No,” says the White House. “You don’t seem to have a choice, do you?” says Tehran. “Maybe,” says Barry Posen.
Is it possible to contain Iran’s nuclear capacity the way it was for forty years with the Soviet Union? They are reckless and possibly mad, but so was Stalin; they have as much to lose from handing off the bomb to a third party as we do, and there might be ways — existing security guarantees, NATO membership, a dependency on foreign aid — to keep other states in the Middle East from going nuclear, too.
But how long can we manage a standoff? That one with the Soviet Union was pretty taxing. And there are bombs in more places this time.
Author, We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran, The New York Times, 27 February 2006
Professor of political science, University of Hawai’i at Manoa