Deterrence Misapplied

Challenges in Containing a Nuclear Iran

June 02, 2010

Report

More on:

Iran

Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

Overview

Given the nature and structure of its government, is it possible to contain an Iran with nuclear weapons? In this discussion paper, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Frederick W. Kagan explores the applicability of deterrence—from a historic and theoretical perspective—to the Iranian regime. Kagan concludes that for numerous structural and strategic reasons, it is impossible to assess with any confidence that the Islamic Republic with nuclear weapons could be contained or deterred.

Note: Contributors were not asked their views about the possibility that Iran may develop nuclear weapons nor about the most effective U.S. policies to avoid that eventuality. Rather, they were told to assume that despite U.S. efforts, Iran had developed nuclear weapons, and they were asked to help assess U.S. options at that point.

More on:

Iran

Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

Explore More on CFR

Germany

President Trump has targeted Germany over its supposed dependence on Russian natural gas, and the proposed Nord Stream 2 is dividing the EU. What’s in store for Europe’s pipeline politics?

Disasters

The U.S. government responds to scores of disasters each year, coordinating closely with state, local, and foreign partners. However, more frequent and severe storms, fires, and floods are straining resources.

Saudi Arabia

If Tesla goes private with significant funding from Saudi Arabia or other foreign investors, it would raise national security and ethical questions.