Interview with Stephen M. Walt
Arms Control and Regional Security for the Middle East
August 17, 2012
Interview with: Stephen M. Walt, member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors and Harvard Kennedy School’s Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs
Topic: Middle East security
“Which is worse for the Middle East, a nuclear-armed Iran or a war with Iran today with all its risks and consequences?
Neither outcome is desirable, but a war would be worse. A nuclear-armed Iran would not suddenly become a superpower and could not use that capability to blackmail or coerce its neighbors. Remember that the mighty Soviet Union had tens of thousands of nuclear bombs and lots of missiles, and they couldn’t blackmail anyone either. The only thing Iran would gain from ‘going nuclear’ would be a deterrent against a direct attack by the United States or by one of Iran’s neighbors; it would not alter the regional balance of power in any other way. …”