Hossein Askari
5 min readFeb 17, 2021

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Nuclear Hypocrisy and Its Chain Reaction

Let’s start off with an indisputable fact. No sane person or responsible country wants to see a nuclear proliferation free for all. Nuclear weapons could destroy all life as we know it. So the stakes are high. The Great Powers are the self-appointed guardians of nuclear non-proliferation. A lauded goal but they have been hypocritical and duplicitous in its implementation.

Nuclear weapon breakout capacity (the time required to build enough highly enriched uranium for one or two warheads) has been limited to regimes that are deemed responsible. Objectionable regimes seeking breakout capacity are threatened with sanctions and war to keep them in line. Note that regimes and governments change so nuclear arms could in time fall from the hands of a responsible into the hands of an objectionable regime. Moreover, if and when a regime, no matter how objectionable, has a nuclear weapon, and especially with a delivery system, then all hands are off and threats on the regime become muted and useless. So if a country lives in a dangerous part of the world, if it is surrounded by hostile neighbors or if it is in the crosshairs of a Great Power, the quest for nuclear arms or at least for breakout capacity becomes strong and understandable.

The Middle East is without a doubt a dangerous part of the world. Israel feels threatened by Arabs, by Iran and more generally by Muslims. The Arabs, especially those in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf, feel threatened by Iran, and others by Israel. While Iran feels threatened by Israel, by Arabs around the Persian Gulf and by some of the Great Powers, especially the United States with immense military presence in the region.

So early on in 1967, Israel hijacked a U.S. ship, USS Liberty, and took its enriched uranium on the high seas with little retaliation from the United States, one of the self-appointed guardians of non-proliferation. Israel is now reputed to have 200–250 nuclear warheads, enough to destroy the entire Middle East, West Asia, and much of Russia, North Africa and Europe. As you can expect, no one appears to seriously threaten Israel today. And as Israel wants to be the master of the region it does everything it can to prevent another country in the region from acquiring such capacity and weaponry.

The Arabs of the region, excluding Iraq and Syria, and possibly Qatar and Lebanon, fear Iran and rely on a mix of alliances. Their main supporter is the United States with bases and vast military capability to defend them. As backup, they…

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Hossein Askari

MIT engineer-economist. Prof: Tufts, UT-Austin, GW. IMF Board. Government-Mediator Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait. Econ-Finance, Oil, Sanctions, Mid-East, Islam.