Giving Up Nukes to Encourage Iran

John Quiggin offers what he terms “A modest proposal” to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff:

Britain, France and Germany are busy trying to persuade Iran to abandon efforts to develop nuclear weapons, so far with little success. Cajolery and bribery having tried and failed, how about a bit of leadership by example? Two of the three parties in this effort have nuclear weapons of their own, even though they don̢۪t face any conceivable threat of invasion. Perhaps if they agreed to disarm themselves, the Iranians would be impressed enough to follow suit.

It’s rather unclear to me, though, why this would work even if the Brits were willing to disarm. Presumably, Iran’s desire to have nuclear weapons is independent of Europe’s possession of them. The threat of a United Kingdom nuclear strike on Iran is, after all, relatively low.

Update (1123): Tim Worstall finds the proposal problematic as well.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. LJD says:

    Wait a minute… We are the infidel invaders, the imperialist aggressors that want to spill blood for oil… Why don’t we just nuke them into submission?

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    While we’re fantasizing, of Iran’s immediate neighbors (less than 1,000 miles) five have nuclear weapons: India, China, Pakistan, Russia, and Israel (putatively). Any or all of these disarming would have real strategic significance for Iran. Britain or France disarming would have no tactical or strategic significance for Iran. Why start with distant France and Britain?

  3. Kent says:

    “Problematic” is not really the word that comes to mind when I read this proposal.