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Libya Shows the Failure of Deterring a Nuclear Iran

Muammar Qaddafi’s demise may be imminent, but the mad colonel refuses to give in. In the past few days, his loyalists have managed to fire Scuds at liberated towns, more out of spite and ideological animus than for any other reason.

This should be of concern to anyone who says the United States can contain a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Iran. It may be true the Iranian regime isn’t suicidal. But, as Qaddafi’s actions demonstrate, that all goes out the window if the Iranian people have risen up (even without outside support), and the regime is counting its final hours. In such a scenario–which, given the Iranian peoples’ animosity to their leaders, isn’t unlikely–what would stop the most retrenched, ideological core of the Revolutionary Guards, which in theory would have the command and control of Iran’s nuclear arsenal, from launching against enemies in the Persian Gulf, Israel, or us? The answer is not much. In such a situation, deterrence breaks down, because neither the United States nor Israel would retaliate against a country whose regime had already changed. I explain further, here.


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