Title: Rogue or Rational State?: A Nuclear Armed Iran and US Counterproliferation Strategy

Subject: Regional US Nuclear Strategy

Author(s): Richard M. Perry; Matthew R. Schwonek (Faculty Advisor)


Abstract: Worldwide proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has risen since the end of the Cold War. This escalation has brought about a new set of challenges for strategists and policy makers within the United States. No longer is the United States facing a single nuclear threat within the relative "security" of a bipolar global arrangement. Rather, emergent nuclear states with marked political, cultural, and ideological differences with the US are on the increase. Iran is one such state. A keystone nation bridging the Middle East with the Near East, Iran is currently pushing the nuclear weapons envelope despite protestations from the global community. The Iranian nuclear problem has vast regional implications not only for the near future, but also presents long term global security issues. What's motivating Iran to make the leap into the nuclear frying pan? Are the mad mullahs in charge driving Iran toward a course of global terrorism with an "Islamic Bomb"? Or, is the nuclear course within Iran a well thought out process, carefully calculated to maximize strategic leverage in order to gain and maintain regional hegemony? Finally, what are the strategic implications for the United States of a nuclear armed Iran? And, does the current US military strategy of detect, deter, and defend against weapons of mass destruction adequately address this threat?

Last updated 1998 Mar 10