Can a nuclear Iran be deterred?
cnn / Amitai Etzioni
06-Feb-2012 (one comment)

Even rational heads of states have shown themselves in the past to be fully capable of making gross miscalculations that cost them their lives, regimes and all they were fighting for. Hitler would fall in that category. Similarly, the Japanese, when they attacked Pearl Harbor, believed they would be able at least to drive the United States out of their part of the world. Saddam Hussein believed the United States would not invade Iraq in 2003, but he was dead wrong. History is littered with numerous other, though less grand, miscalculations, from Lord Cardigan's Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War to Pickett's Charge in the American Civil War.

In short, it might be possible to deter Iran, but no one can assume that we can safely rely on the rationality of Iran's leaders and their decisions and reactions to the events around them. No one can predict if they will unleash forces on Saudi Arabia or Israel -- perhaps not even the Iranians themselves.

Darius Kadivar

Amitai Etzioni's take

by Darius Kadivar on

Editor's note: Amitai Etzioni is professor of international relations and director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University.