Tuesday, June 19, 2012

He Learned to Stop Worrying

And learned to love the Iranian bomb:

[A] nuclear-armed Iran would probably be the best possible result of the standoff and the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East.

This article will appear in Foreign Affairs. Which is frightening. That magazine reflects the most conventional of conventional wisdom that our elites hold.

Which is why I gave up subscribing to Foreign Affairs long ago. Oh, I have many of their coffee mugs to show I subscribed. As a poli sci undergrad, the journal was a holy of holies. When I could afford it, I subscribed. Yet it didn't take long to see that the journal was actually quite worthless. And I should have known. Ages ago in grad school when I was working on a long paper on the Iran-Iraq War, I saw that Foreign Affairs had an article coming out on the war. Oh, what luck! What insights could I learn from the leading lights of political science and foreign affairs?

It was dreck. I learned nothing except that I knew far more from my own research than the author of that article. Yet still I did not learn. And it took years of reading just purely banal prose propped up by prestige alone.

Despite the prestige of the journal, it is actually nearly worthless on any subject; and has worth only to identify what the elites are thinking.

And what a shock, the elites would seem to be learning to stop worrying and love the mullah bomb.

The author says that since Israeli nukes didn't prompt a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Iran's bomb won't either.

Hmmm. Maybe Arabs fear what Persians will do with nukes more than what Israelis might do?

Maybe time has put nukes within reach of more states?

Maybe going beyond 8 nuclear powers would multiply the chances for a nuclear war? We already had the Cuban Missile Crisis that put the world at maybe 50-50 chance of nuclear war. And there were other lower risk scares just between America and Russia.

Russia, too, considered a preemptive strike on China. What were the odds there?

My statistical skills are old, but how many 50% chances of nuclear war do we need before the chance of one going the wrong way goes to near certainty?

And how does deterrence work with very short flight times and vulnerable assets that might encourage first strikes in a crisis?

But no, Iran with nukes will restore stability to the Middle East. According to the developing conventional wisdom.

I'm more worried that the elites are moving toward accepting Iran under the mullahs as a nuclear power than I am at the prospect of Iran going nuclear in the first place.