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August 15, 2005

Nuclear Disarmament

John Quiggin at Crooked Timber has something of a blinder of a post on nuclear disarmament.

Britain, France and Germany are busy trying to persuade Iran to abandon efforts to develop nuclear weapons, so far with little success. Cajolery and bribery having tried and failed, how about a bit of leadership by example? Two of the three parties in this effort have nuclear weapons of their own, even though they don’t face any conceivable threat of invasion[1]. Perhaps if they agreed to disarm themselves, the Iranians would be impressed enough to follow suit.

OK, I’m joking about Chirac and France. There’s no way that France is ready to admit that it is no longer a Great Power, and certainly Chirac is not the man to start the process. But, why shouldn’t Blair do something like this? It’s a perfect example of the non-ideological willingness to embrace radical alternatives to established dogma that New Labour is supposed to symbolise. And even if it didn’t produce any immediate payoff with Iran it would have to help the cause of non-proliferation in the medium term.

So let me see if I’ve got this logic straight. Iran, he accepts, is going for nuclear weapons. This is the country that refers to us as the Little Satan. (Or, to be precise, a significant chunk of their current ruling oligarchy does.) It’s a theocracy, not something conducive to working out the pros and cons of a course of action based on the results solely in this world.

And the reaction to their acquiring a weapon that could (note could, not would) do us serious damage is that we should give up that same weapon ourselves. And this would so impress the people who are, by the social democratic standards that John (and, in this case, I too agree with the thought) holds to, complete religious fruticakes (and thus by the standards that both of us share, not susceptible to rational reasoning) that they’ll abandon their plans.

Oh, and the French don’t have to do this because, well, because they’re French.

Umm, I think this plan might require just a touch more thought. Can’t quite put my finger on the exact problem myself, but I do have this niggly little feeling that there is one there.

August 15, 2005 in Nuclear | Permalink


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John Quiggin offers what he terms “A modest proposal” to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff: Britain, France and Germany are busy trying to persuade Iran to abandon efforts to develop nuclear weapons, so far with little success. Cajolery... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 15, 2005 4:32:32 PM


Didn't Sir Humphrey explain that we need nukes so that we can target Paris?

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 15, 2005 2:05:43 PM

If you ain't got a nuke, you can't sit at the big boy's table!

Unfortunately, the mullah's idea of the table is a totally-flat, radio-active Israel!

Posted by: Mike Cunningham | Aug 15, 2005 4:39:51 PM

Don't you know that being rational means assuming that everybody else is rational?

And it's important to be fair. If you admit that the leadership of Iran is batshit loony, then in fairness you have to assume that your own leadership is batshit loony, too.

tim adds: Well, I insist on the former and often suspect the latter.

Posted by: Professor Froward | Aug 15, 2005 4:57:05 PM

yeh but we want nukes because we prefer our version of batshit looniness to theirs.

whereas noone prefers France's version of batshit looniness. Nice cakes and cheese though.

Is being a fruticake much worse than being a fruitcake?

being practical for a minute - nukes mean we can run down or conventional forces ... oh oops - we already have!

Posted by: angry economist | Aug 15, 2005 5:42:29 PM

I'd say there's degrees of looniness.

Funny that Quiggin seems to place the French in the same category as Iran: Nations you don't make demands of, but rather placate while smiling and backing away slowly.

Personally, I think Chirac is a lot less wacky than the Qom Qids in Teheran. Oooh, "Qom Qids"! I like that.

Posted by: Professor Froward | Aug 15, 2005 6:44:09 PM

This is the geopolitical equivalent of those adverts for Darwinism on 'America's Most Dangerous Carnivores' or whatever who get mauled because they think bears are cuddly.

Posted by: David Gillies | Aug 15, 2005 10:42:38 PM

I think you do the man a disfavour.

After all we know that the downfall of the Soviet Union was a direct result of total Nuclear Disarmament by the USA. The following Love Fest in Red Square and John Lennon's İmagine posthumously hitting number 1 in the Russian charts, showed Russian hardliners that their time was up.

As for Iran, its only natural that they should wish to face down the Post Imperialist Halliburton Conspiracy with Nukes of their own.

MI5 know that the new President of the Islamic republic is a close friend of Working Class Hero Galloway and spent his youth cvampaigning for Gay & Women's rights, but they paint him instead as some kind of extremist.

Posted by: EU Serf | Aug 16, 2005 9:09:21 AM