Alan J. Kuperman, director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin, argues that the unraveling of the uranium enrichment agreement proves that the United States must conduct air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon.
Kuperman’s analysis is problematic for several reasons. Here are two.
First, Kuperman cites the failure of the P5+1 uranium enrichment proposal as evidence “that Iran, for domestic political reasons, cannot make even temporary concessions on its bomb program, regardless of incentives or sanctions.” Kuperman rejects out of hand the possibility that the Iranians simply did not view the P5+1 offer as promoting the Islamic Republic’s national interest.
Second, Kuperman says that the United States could limit the Iranian response to a bombing campaign because, “If nothing else, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the United States military can oust regimes in weeks if it wants to.” It is difficult to know where to begin here. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have shown much more than the American military’s capacity for ‘regime change’ — they have shown the limits of American military power and the supreme difficulty of filling the vacuum that ‘regime change’ creates. Does anyone seriously think that another war and occupation in the Middle East is in the United States’ strategic interests or politically feasible for the Obama administration?
The entire article can be read here.
Benjamin Katcher is Policy Analyst for the American Strategy Program. Katcher also manages and contributes to The Washington Note and The Race for Iran. This note was first published by The Race for Iran on 24 December 2009 under a Creative Commons license.