A TIME TO ATTACK by Matthew Kroenig


The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat
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Kroenig (Government/Georgetown Univ.; Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons, 2010, etc.) explains why we need to prepare to bomb Iran.

This is no neoconservative cheerleading for another Middle East war; Kroenig knows that nobody has the stomach for that. As a former special adviser for Iranian affairs to the secretary of defense, however, he also fully understands the challenge that a militant Iran presents to American foreign policy goals worldwide, particularly the enforcement of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and, thus, the prevention of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. The author’s analysis is well-organized, thorough, and presented in clear, simple language. He explains why a nuclear-armed Iran would cause extensive problems for America and its allies and severely damage the credibility of American guarantees; three presidents have, after all, stated emphatically that they would not permit Iran to obtain the bomb. Kroenig would prefer to resolve the issue through diplomacy, but he doubts it can be done, contending that we have nothing to offer that could persuade Iran to give up joining the nuclear club. Meanwhile, the centrifuges are spinning; Iran may have enough fissionable material to start building nuclear bombs within 14 months, at which point they cannot be stopped. Kroenig is not advocating regime change by invasion, only a surgical attack on the uranium and plutonium production sites. He discusses at length the difficulties involved in such operations, the likely blowback and the alternative of containing a nuclear Iran, but he concludes that if diplomacy fails, a bombing run is the “least bad” option. If one accepts his premises—and not all analysts do—the logic of Kroenig’s position is inexorable and the conclusion, as unavoidable as it is unwelcome.

Aggressive title aside, this is a carefully argued call for action on a problem that is only going to get worse.

Pub Date: May 13th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-137-27953-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2014


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