A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat


Iran's advanced nuclear program may be the world's most important emerging international security challenge. If not stopped, a nuclear-capable Iran will mean an even more crisis-prone Middle East, a potential nuclear-arms race in the region and around the world, and an increased risk of nuclear war against Israel and the United States, among many other imminent global threats.

Matthew Kroenig, internationally recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on Iran's nuclear...

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A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat

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Iran's advanced nuclear program may be the world's most important emerging international security challenge. If not stopped, a nuclear-capable Iran will mean an even more crisis-prone Middle East, a potential nuclear-arms race in the region and around the world, and an increased risk of nuclear war against Israel and the United States, among many other imminent global threats.

Matthew Kroenig, internationally recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on Iran's nuclear program, explains why we need to take immediate steps to a diplomatic and, if necessary, a military solution - now - before Iran makes any further nuclear advances. A Time to Attack provides an authoritative account of the history of Iran's nuclear program and the international community's attempts to stop it. Kroenig explains and assesses the options available to policymakers, and reflects on what the resolution of the Iranian nuclear challenge will mean for the future of international order.

This dramatic call to action provides an insider's account of what is being said in Washington about what our next move must be as the crisis continues to develop.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kroenig (Exporting the Bomb), an expert in nuclear strategy and national security, has become one of the leading academic voices calling for a military strike on Iran. Making a forceful case here, he writes: “It is my judgment, based on the preponderance of the evidence, that Iran has in fact made a final decision to build nuclear weapons.” Arguing that “we can trade Iran’s nuclear program, the greatest emerging threat to the country, for limited Iranian military retaliation”—which he estimates as several hundred deaths, mostly in Israel, and a short-term rise in the cost of oil—Kroenig persuasively argues that the consequences of a preemptive strike are far preferable to allowing Iran to build a warhead; he gives short shrift to the advocates of diplomacy and ongoing talks merit only two sentences. Echoing Netanyahu, Kroenig suggests that Obama would be wise to delineate a clear red line which, if passed, would trigger an immediate strike, but he maintains that ultimately the job will fall to the United States, calling the Israeli military option “an unmitigated disaster.” A continuation of Kroenig’s well-received and controversial article in Foreign Affairs, the book provides similarly clear-eyed but divisive advice regarding an urgent situation. Agent: Will Lippincott, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (May)
From the Publisher
“Thankfully, Matthew Kroenig has written a compelling book that takes a serious analytical look at the Iranian nuclear program. Even those who oppose his position would be well advised to consider his well-reasoned arguments.” — Ambassador Dennis Ross, Former Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for the Central Region, and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace

“Matthew Kroenig's A Time to Attack is the most thorough book-length examination of the issues involved in assessing the Iranian challenge.  Clearly and engagingly written, A Time to Attack is a major contribution to the national debate on the issue and is a must read for any and all who would venture to put forward an opinion on this vital topic.” — Ambassador (ret.) Eric S.  Edelman, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 2005-2009 and co-chair of the Gemunder Center Iran Task Force


“Matthew Kroenig is a smart, serious expert whose provocative arguments on Iran policy…will inform and sharpen your thinking about Iran, nuclear proliferation, and American foreign policy more generally.” —Gideon Rose, Editor, Foreign Affairs

“As someone who has written a book making the exact opposite argument of A Time to Attack, I want to commend it to anyone interested in the question of Iran’s nuclear program and what America should do about it.” —Kenneth M. Pollack, author of Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy

Kirkus Reviews
Kroenig (Government/Georgetown Univ.;Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons, 2010,etc.) explains why we need to prepare to bomb Iran.This is no neoconservative cheerleading for another Middle East war; Kroenig knows that nobody has the stomach for that.As a former special adviser for Iranian affairs to the secretary of defense, however, he also fully understands the challenge that a militant Iran presents to American foreign policy goals worldwide, particularly the enforcement of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and, thus, the prevention of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The author’s analysis is well-organized, thorough, and presented in clear, simple language. He explains why a nuclear-armed Iran would cause extensive problems for America and its allies and severely damage the credibility of American guarantees; three presidents have, after all, stated emphatically that they would not permit Iran to obtain the bomb.Kroenig would prefer to resolve the issue through diplomacy, but he doubts it can be done, contending that we have nothing to offer that could persuade Iran to give up joining the nuclear club.Meanwhile, the centrifuges are spinning; Iran may have enough fissionable material to start building nuclear bombs within 14 months, at which point they cannot be stopped.Kroenig is not advocating regime change by invasion, only a surgical attack on the uranium and plutonium production sites. He discusses at length the difficulties involved in such operations, the likely blowback and the alternative of containing a nuclear Iran, but he concludes that if diplomacy fails, a bombing run is the “least bad” option.If one accepts his premises—and not all analysts do—the logic of Kroenig’s position is inexorable and the conclusion, as unavoidable as it is unwelcome.Aggressive title aside, this is a carefully argued call for action on a problem that is only going to get worse.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137279538
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 413,497
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Kroenig is internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on Iran’s nuclear program. From 2010 to 2011, he was a Special Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on defense policy and strategy for Iran. He has also worked as a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is associate professor and international relations field chair in the department of government at Georgetown University, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, and author of Exporting the Bomb.

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