In January 1961 a B-52 bomber broke up over North Carolina, dropping two nuclear bombs on rural Wayne County. “By the slightest margin of chance,” recently released documents reveal, “literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted.” The...
A U.S. or Israeli war with Iran would not only lead to a humanitarian tragedy but would put the entire Middle East on the precipice of conflagration — possibly dragging other great powers such as China and Russia into the picture. With so many reasons to reconsider the military option and rethink the sanctions track, there is a growing feeling that this crisis can only be solved by a diplomatic grand bargain between America and Iran – something that the public in Iran and the United States are increasingly endorsing.
It’s difficult to determine whether or not the Institute for Science and International Security is driven by politics.
As the United States struggles to stabilize the volatile landscape in Afghanistan, assert a long-term strategic presence in Iraq, and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is gradually confronting a precarious and consequential estrangement from its long-term strategic ally, Pakistan. With rising dissatisfaction among the Pakistani political elite and growing popular anger against America, Washington is on the verge of losing another vital ally.
For at least the past two decades, political leaders in the United States and Israel have warned that Iran was on the threshold of building a nuclear weapon. From what we’ve been hearing lately from the media, ‘Iran is once again…still on that threshold.
The United States is selective about which states engaging in nuclear proliferation that it condemns.
The illicit market of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials puts the world’s population at risk of an attack that could decimate cities and kill millions of people. A lone wolf might get a hold of fissile material, the technical knowledge to build an atomic weapon, or a nuclear weapon itself. Or a whole host of criminal agents – rogue scientists, opportunist civilians, thieves, terrorists, or even government officials – could obtain radioactive materials (or bombs themselves) through informal means. The illicit market of nuclear weapons and related materials spans a whole host of suppliers, middlemen, and buyers.
Given the largely conflicting political identity of the two governments which in most contexts has defined conflicting foreign policy interests for the two countries , the United States views its relations with Iran as a zero-sum game and will thus struggle to contain Iran’s growing power and influence in the region, even if this would mean swimming against the tide and creating unnecessary costs for its foreign policy in the region.
Deterrence — or Mutual Assured Destruction — isn’t all that’s kept us from blowing each other up in a nuclear war.
“Virtual deterrence” — demobilizing nuclear weapons but retaining production capacity — could backfire on the disarmament advocates who think it’s a step in the right direction and lead to nuclear war.