Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Kuperman’s NYTimes Iran Editorial: “Air strikes are the only plausible option”

Posted by K.E. White on December 26, 2009

Alan J. Kuperman, Director of UT of Austin’s Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program, makes the case for U.S. airstrikes against Iran. Three main points form his position: 1) the proposed nuclear transfer deal failed to halt Iran’s nuclear program and both sides knew it; 2) America should pounce now; and 3) that the Iranian reaction both inside and outside Iran may prove less dire than many predict.

Kuperman, boasting a unique and impressive academic and professional resume, deserves out attention—even if his editorial imposes a fair too neat narrative behind American and Iranian motivations. (Be sure to check out Kuperman’s other published works through his biography)

From Kuperman’s NYTimes editorial:

…Iran is far more likely to engage in “salami slicing” — a series of violations each too small to provoke retaliation, but that together will give it a nuclear arsenal. For example, while Iran permits international inspections at its declared enrichment plant at Natanz, it ignores United Nations demands that it close the plant, where it gains the expertise needed to produce weapons-grade uranium at other secret facilities like the nascent one recently uncovered near Qom.

In sum, the proposal would not have averted proliferation in the short run, because that risk always was low, but instead would have fostered it in the long run — a classic example of domestic politics undermining national security.

But there are three compelling reasons that the United States itself should carry out the bombings. First, the Pentagon’s weapons are better than Israel’s at destroying buried facilities. Second, unlike Israel’s relatively small air force, the United States military can discourage Iranian retaliation by threatening to expand the bombing campaign. (Yes, Israel could implicitly threaten nuclear counter-retaliation, but Iran might not perceive that as credible.) Finally, because the American military has global reach, air strikes against Iran would be a strong warning to other would-be proliferators.

Negotiation to prevent nuclear proliferation is always preferable to military action. But in the face of failed diplomacy, eschewing force is tantamount to appeasement. We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponing military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.

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One Response to “Kuperman’s NYTimes Iran Editorial: “Air strikes are the only plausible option””

  1. Nilda Harnar said

    I’ve been trying through the net for my research on this matter, thanks so much…

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