Re: “The risk of aligning against Iran”, Editorial, yesterday.
When writing about a notoriously democracy-averse region like the Middle East, one has to be mindful of the complex web of political intrigue, internecine warfare and malignant adventurism by internal and external actors that delivers a vicious slap in the face to basic human rights and further destabilises an already volatile part of the world.
As an ego-measuring competition, the ongoing contest between Gulf superpowers, and now with an American super-ego thrown into the mix, the current unrest promises to spill over to another and potentially far more dangerous conflict that will create yet more misery for the powerless and disenfranchised.
In addition, at the back of many peoples’ minds we have a de facto nuclear-armed Israel, an emerging nuclear-tipped Iran and a potentially nuclear-weaponised and hyper-hypocritical Saudi Arabia, presenting a conceivably frightening descent into the abyss. In mitigation, the obverse side of the coin offers the logic of MAD (mutual assured destruction) that suggests a first-use policy will be met with thermonuclear retribution.
In that sense, it’s hard to refute the logic of deterrence theory. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a nuclear-capable Iran committing guaranteed national self-destruction by lobbing a few kilotonnes at Tel Aviv or Riyadh. Moreover, being “declared” nuclear-weapons states certainly concentrated the minds of inveterate enemies India and Pakistan, hence no wars since test-exploding their sexy nukes.
To exacerbate these troublesome issues, current conflicts in the Middle East ensure the area is already haemorrhaging refugees in disturbing numbers and spilling over into a troubled Europe and, apparently, the US. Here we have a scenario that is truly hemispherical, at the very least, in its implications.