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How far (if at all) should the West go to prevent Iran from getting the nuclear bomb?

Alice          27 July 2015 03:40 PM

The way things go right now, it seems likely that Iran will get the bomb within the next 10-15 years. In the view of the nature of their regime, are the Western states morally obligated to stop it? If so, what methods are admissible?

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James_Miller 24 August 2015 11:37 AM

You have a gun. An unarmed man says he hates and wants to kill you and your best friend. The man than slowly walks towards a cabinet that contains a loaded gun. What should you do?


Fwiffo 28 July 2015 01:27 PM

You are implying that they are getting it which isn't unreasonable but I will state it explicitly as action to prevent a nuke needs to be based on somewhat reliable estimation that it is coming. For example the US has waged wars on premises of weapons of mass destruction being in production which little to no evidence was covered later. If one were to warmonger spreading rumours of a mass destruction weapon could be a tactic to states to take actions they otherwise wouldn't make.

I would also like you to explicitly say how Iran is special in that action might be required. I guess I could reasonably guess them but I would rather let you speak rather than put words into your mouth by interpreting an open statement.

It might bring into the more general question on whether and why we are okay with the countries that currently have nukes that they have it. It could be that it was just matter of practicality and it didn't arrise as a moral question at a time. But if we are going to get moral about nukes then in order to stay consistent we might need to shift from practicality to moral on the old nukes also.

On topic of preventive military stirkes I do not think that this constitutes currently an actionable threat. Some of the west countries should be able to keep taps on its progress and when the nuke is 2-3 year away from completetion there might be need to revise whether the information available at that time gives reason to act.

Also why would the West be in special moral grounds to intervene with Iran? Russia and China would be more suited as third-party mediators of "don't frigging start a nuclear exhange blowing the planet up".

If we really wanted Iran to drop the power generation act we could gift them equivalent power generation capacity. However that might be being nice to Iran which might be less desirable than using force to just simply deny them getting a nuke. It would seem the west would deem it lower cost to demolish Iran rather than forfeit the power generation cost.

US placing a antinuke in eastern europe because Iran migth soon have a nuke doesn't seem that stabilising to me. Russia and arguably europe could see it as a offensive move.

We could also hurry antinuke research to keep the defence more on the Iran end or US soil end. However that risks cold war like positioning being more prominent. There has been kind of a trend on leaving the orbit unmilitarised and dropping out the nukes instead of beefing them up.

The really cruesome option would be to let Iran nuke some of its neighbours. But in order to no t do that you kinda have to genuinely solve the beef between Iran and its neighbours. The west hasn't been super interested in that. If we go and intercept nukes then the question arrises why we don't get ourself involved with the other problems. West has mandate on global but no on local problems? Then the issue is problematically that war is okay as long as you use AKs to fight them.

Projecting into the long future is unertain but it migth be that the big powers can't maintain their nuke rediness and simultanously fight nuke capcbility growth. It might become a war crime to have a nuke capability or deny access to nuke capability checkers. So far only one nation has deployed weapons of mass destruction on a real battlefield and multiple wars have been fought on the premise of preventing a potential direct war between nuclear powers. Banning nukes would also be unique in that the last resort of soveirgnity would not be force. Effectively humanity would have gotten rid of serious wars. However the political structure that would mediate serious disagreement would need to be very robust, beyond any that we have currently. If that is too utopistic it migth be that the US needs to conquer planet earth just to keep Iran in check even if it could not be morally justified should it be interested in doing so (this aggros parties other than Iran too).