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Anticipating a Nuclear Iran: Challenges for U.S. Security

Overview

This volume is based on the assumption that Iran will soon obtain nuclear weapons, and Jacquelyn K. Davis and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr. develop alternative models for assessing the challenges of a nuclear Iran for U.S. security. Through three scenario models, the book explores the political, strategic, and operational challenges facing the United States in a post-Cold War world. The authors concentrate on the type of nuclear capability Iran might develop; the conditions under which Iran might resort to threatened...

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Anticipating a Nuclear Iran: Challenges for U.S. Security

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Overview

This volume is based on the assumption that Iran will soon obtain nuclear weapons, and Jacquelyn K. Davis and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr. develop alternative models for assessing the challenges of a nuclear Iran for U.S. security. Through three scenario models, the book explores the political, strategic, and operational challenges facing the United States in a post-Cold War world. The authors concentrate on the type of nuclear capability Iran might develop; the conditions under which Iran might resort to threatened or actual weapons use; the extent to which Iran's military strategy and declaratory policy might embolden Iran and its proxies to pursue more aggressive policies in the region and vis-à-vis the United States; and Iran's ability to transfer nuclear materials to others within and outside the region, possibly sparking a nuclear cascade. Drawing on recent post-Cold War deterrence theory, the authors consider Iran's nuclear ambitions as they relate to its foreign policy objectives, domestic politics, and role in the Islamic world, and they suggest specific approaches to improve U.S. defense and deterrence planning.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/21/2013
Preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons has been a longstanding priority for U.S. administrations, but there is growing realization that Iranian nuclear capabilities may be inevitable. Davis and Pfaltzgraff, both of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, begin with the assumption that Iran will get the bomb in the near future, and sketch out likely scenarios that would inform American responses. They rely on three models: A “defensive Iran,” playing by similar rules as established nuclear states; an “aggressive Iran,” emboldened to take a proactive role in regional conflicts; and an “unstable Iran,” where authority over weapons of mass destruction becomes unclear. The authors warn that America’s “ack of familiarity with Iran’s value structures or with the perspectives of key leaders presents a daunting problem,” and they explore a variety of frightening scenarios, including an Iranian military proliferating weapons to other countries. Employing dry, analytic language, the text encompasses so many unknowns that many passages could apply equally well to Pakistan or even North Korea. The policy recommendations, beginning with the truism that “eterring a nuclear Iran will be challenging and difficult,” are, as a result, vague and formulaic. (Dec.)
Ilan Berman

Davis and Pfaltzgraff have chosen to tackle a subject few others have: that Iran might actually succeed in its quest to get 'the bomb' and how it might behave as a result. Their assessment will prove invaluable to U.S. policy makers, who are forced, by necessity, to think about the 'day after' Iran goes nuclear and what that might mean for U.S. policy.

Robert D. Kaplan

Anticipating a Nuclear Iran is a both spare and comprehensive guide concerning perhaps the most vexing security challenge of our time. It is a must-read for the defense and diplomatic communities.

Paul Bracken

The originality of Jacquelyn K. Davis and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr.'s book lies in its creative synthesis of historical, logical, and technology and force-structure trends into a coherent assessment of what a nuclear Iran means for the region and the world. They explain U.S. policy implications of an Iran with atomic weapons in a clear, insightful way.

James Stavridis

This objective and dispassionate assessment of what a nuclear Iran might mean for U.S. security is must reading for the policy maker, the policy analyst, and the broader public policy community. The authors break new ground in their multifaceted discussion of Iran's nuclear program and its implications for deterrence dynamics in the complex twenty-first-century world. A brilliant work of policy scholarship.

Survival

Anticipating a Nuclear Iran is an important and sobering volume which should put to rest any suggestion that a nuclear Iran would be easily managed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231166225
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,028,781
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacquelyn K. Davis is executive vice president of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc. She is a member of the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel, where she has cochaired several task forces, including one on Iran. She also serves on U.S. Europe Command's Senior Advisory Group.

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr. is president of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc., which he cofounded in 1976, and the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies at the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and BoxesPreface1. Introduction: Setting the Scene for Iran's Emergence as a Nuclear Power2. The Deterrence Dynamics of an Iran with Nuclear Weapons3. Considerations Influencing Iran's Nuclear Emergence4. Nuclear Weapons Operationalization: What Type of Nuclear Force?5. Implications for U.S. Strategic and Operational Planning6. U.S. Deterrence Planning in the Event of an Iranian Nuclear Breakout7. Dealing with a Nuclear Iran and Asymmetric Challenges8. U.S. Deterrence Planning and IranNotesIndex

Columbia University Press

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