OK — on Wednesday we posted some thoughts from an Air Force planner working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff about how to avoid the mistakes we made in Iraq when/if we invade Iran. Friday’s Iranian post is more optimistic. It’s an assessment of the Iranian nuclear threat from Cheryl M. Graham, a lecturer in international relations and strategic studies at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. It appears in the just-published issue of Strategic Studies Quarterly — the self-described senior United States Air Force-sponsored journal fostering intellectual enrichment for national and international security professionals — published out of what they call Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Dr. Graham encourages us to take the lessons we learned from China’s push to join the nuclear club and apply them to Iran:
China’s nuclear capabilities did not translate into the intolerable military problems foreseen by President Kennedy but may actually have facilitated rapprochement between the two countries. Mao Zedong was also a much more ruthless and revolutionary figure than Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mao actively supported anti-Western insurgencies all over the world, allowed millions of his own countrymen to perish in his mismanaged attempts at reform, and even spoke openly about his willingness to destroy half of the world for communism to triumph. Despite this track record, the desire for self-preservation and national survival has seen China armed with nuclear weapons successfully deterred from using them for more than 40 years.
Feel better now?