The Looming Middle East Security Crisis

An international-security train wreck appears imminent. The outlines of this emerging crisis have been visible for almost a decade. The George W. Bush administration found no solution to it. And the Obama administration has made matters worse with its arms-control, defense, and deterrence policies.

What is this looming crisis? A November 2011 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran has a nuclear-weapons program underway and is working on a nuclear warhead for its Shahab-3 ballistic missile — a missile with a reported range of 2,000 kilometers. Nuclear weapons and missiles are a potentially deadly combination. If deployed, they will provide the Iranian leadership with the capability to make severe coercive threats against its neighbors, and eventually against the United States. If actually employed, the combination could destroy undefended nations in a matter of hours. Everyone hopes, but nobody knows, that Iran, a state-sponsor of terrorism, will behave prudently if it acquires these deadly capabilities. Numerous statements by Iranian leaders suggest otherwise.

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