The Future of Iran

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Thomas Schelling, in his book Arms and Influence, describes the way the threat of war can be used in negotiation, to coerce another country to abide by the demands of another. In this case, the United States and the European Union, among others, have been trying to negotiate, even coerce, Iran into giving up its nuclear arms program. For the most part, Iran has not been willing to negotiate much. In fact, Iran is often described as being defiant against the world. Will this defiance cause a war to be started with Iran? The chances are good that a war could take place, but the chances are just as good that political leaders will find another way to deal with Iran’s relations with the world, especially after the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the book Arms and Influence by Thomas Schelling, he points out that when diplomacy and bargaining are taking place, there has to be a common interest, even if the common interest is to avoid mutual damage. In order for bargaining to work, there must be “An awareness of the need to make the other party prefer an outcome acceptable to oneself” (Schelling 1). In much of the language reported from Iran, however, it does not appear that Iran is willing to negotiate, maybe because it does not feel that damage will be inflicted by not bargaining. Iran may be correct. Unless Iran openly inflicts violence on another country, it may be able to develop its nuclear arms and continue to make threats in spite of what other countries have tried to force Iran to do. This opinion seems surprising considering that Iraq was invaded and Saddam Hussein taken down, even though the nuclear threat from Iraq was not as clear as the nuclear threat coming from Iran. But as argued by Ivo Daalder (2006), the cont...

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...ut like Thomas Schelling says, it is unlikely that the country would do something that would guarantee its total destruction (such as using a nuclear weapon). On the other hand, that does not mean it will not cause harm to others.

Works Cited

Daalder, Ivo. "Is War With Iran Inevitable?" Brookings Institute, April 21, 2006. http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2006/0421iran_daalder.aspx (accessed September 24, 2011).

Eckman, Jim . "Iran v. Saudi Arabia." Issues in Perspective, April 30, 2011. http://graceuniversity.edu/iip/2011/04/30-2/ (accessed September 24, 2011).

Pollack, Ken & Takeyh, Roon. "Doubling Down on Iran." Washington Quarterly. 34. no. 4 (Fall 2011). http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/articles/2011/09_iran_pollack_takeyh/09_iran_pollack_takeyh.pdf (accessed September 24, 2011).

Schelling. T. Arms and Influence. Yale University. 1966.
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