Deterrence in the Twenty-first Century

Deterrence in the twenty-first century - Air University Press


nuclear-armed Iran, Saudi Arabia is more likely to pursue a

nuclear weapon capability of its own.” If needed, they would

seek “a nuclear guarantee from Pakistan.” 10

European states are also concerned about the potential nuclear

threat from Iran. The most common scenario suggested by

Europeans involves an Iranian threat to use ballistic missiles to

deter the intervention of external powers in a crisis in the Persian

Gulf. As a German observer put it, “Iran might try to blackmail

NATO in the course of a crisis in the Middle East. The message

would be ‘If you get engaged, we can attack your homeland.’ ” 11

The recent record of United States declared redlines that have

been ignored by Iran is similar to that of North Korea, as discussed

earlier. US officials have repeatedly stated that uranium

enrichment by Iran, a necessary step as part of a nuclear weapons

development capability, is simply unacceptable. On 21

February 2006, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns stated

that “we cannot allow Iran to achieve that capability.” President

Bush said that “the international community must come together

to make it very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate the

construction of a nuclear weapon. Iran would be dangerous if

they have a nuclear weapon” 12 and that “[Iran] trying to clandestinely

develop a nuclear weapon, or using the guise of a civilian

nuclear weapon program to get the know-how to develop

a nuclear weapon, is unacceptable.” 13 Appearing on Meet the

Press on 7 December 2008, president-elect Barack Obama repeated

the warning that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons

is “unacceptable.”

Iran, ignoring US-stated redlines, has pressed ahead with its

uranium enrichment activities and has publicly announced its

achievement of milestone events. The credibility of US security

guarantees cannot be helped by this record of establishing declaratory

redlines and then not taking firm and visible action in

response to the crossing of those redlines.

At least five implications for the United States have resulted

from these new and growing direct threats to allies.

• The United States needs a deterrence strategy tailored to

each state that poses a potential threat to allies. The strategy

should be designed to influence the decision making of

adversary leaders and convince them that attempts to co-


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines