Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-First Century

Matt Eckel. Foreign Policy Watch, 01 March 2010.


Though American leaders try not to say it out loud too often, one of the reasons Iran’s nuclear program is unsettling to Washington is that it constrains the ability of the United States to topple the Iranian regime by force, should push come to shove. As a global hegemon, having the ability to wave our conventional military around and implicitly threaten recalcitrant middle powers with conquest is something America likes to be able to do. It’s much harder if the recalcitrant middle power in question can credibly threaten to take out a couple of allied capital cities. Israel’s nuclear program was originally founded on this logic, as was that of France.

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