Paez (Going Nuclear, 2015) uses the Cold War as a model for containing a nuclear Iran in this work of military and political analysis.
For a brief period of nuclear disarmament at the end of the 20th century, it looked as though the nations of the world might mutually agree to suspend their nuclear programs and that the threat of nuclear war would become a concern of the past. Then Iran got into the game: “The nuclear genie was back in business and this time in one of the most historically violent, yet economically important regions of the world.” Paez argues that a nuclear Iran challenges the paradigm. Specifically, he argues against those scholars who claim that a nuclear Israel, with a ballast in the form of a nuclear Iran, would create a stalemate reminiscent of the Cold War and that the threat of mutual destruction would actually bring a new level of balance to the region, fostering stability and economic growth. Paez thinks that those who uphold this view have a fundamental misunderstanding of the mechanics of the Cold War. While we assume its peaceful outcome was inevitable, the world is in fact exceedingly lucky that nuclear war did not break out between the U.S. and the USSR. Paez takes the reader through the buildup and maneuverings of the Cold War, replete as it was with egos, missteps, glitches, and near catastrophes, arguing that such “balanced” relationships are actually quite unstable, and the “only certain way to prevent a nuclear war is to prevent adversaries from possessing nuclear weapons in the first place.” The book is brief, yet the author manages to communicate his point with colorful prose and an arsenal of facts. His case about the instability of the Cold War is quite convincing, though its application in a Middle Eastern scenario is less so. As in any discussion of the Middle East, the persuasiveness of the evidence depends largely on the reader’s ideological leanings. Paez’s position toward Iran is hawkish; his position toward Israel, defensive. People who are otherwise inclined are likely to remain unconvinced.
A well-constructed argument against a nuclear Iran.