Economists Interpretation of Van Creveld and Pack’s Thoughts on Iran
The Economist seized upon Van Creveld’s paradigm that nuclear proliferation is not a big deal and may even bring stability in a recent article. In so doing, they adopt my reading of both the threat of Syria turning into a failed state and how it could have a spillover effect onto the Iran situation.
Mr van Creveld’s main point, obviously, is that Israel and America are inflating the Iranian nuclear threat. “Iranians are rational people, they’re not interested in suicide,” he says. “As a nuclear power, Israel has very little to fear from an Iranian nuclear weapon.” In a Project Syndicate piece co-written with Jason Pack of Cambridge University earlier this month, Mr van Creveld argued that while the situation in Iran is not a grave threat to regional stability, it’s distracting us from the situation in Syria, which is. The violence “could spill over into Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel, increasing the risk of a regional conflagration… Events in Syria appear increasingly similar to the civil war in Lebanon in the 1980s.” An Israeli or American attack on Iran would vastly exacerbate the dangers, inflaming anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment and turning the Syrian conflict into a staging ground for radical Islamists.