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Walker and Iran Hawks’ Phony Concern for Nonproliferation

Rejecting any achievable nuclear deal with Iran seems to be the latest litmus test for Republican presidential candidates. Scott Walker told Hugh Hewitt that he would repudiate a deal that the U.S. made that permitted Iran to retain some enrichment:

HH: Would you reject that deal if you took the Oval Office?

SW: Absolutely, on Day One. I mean, to me, it is, the concept of a nuclear Iran is not only problematic for Iran, and certainly for Israel, but it opens the doors. I mean, the Saudis are next. You’re going to have plenty of others in the region. People forget that even amongst the Islamic world, there is no love lost between the Saudis and the Iranians. And so they’re going to want to have a nuclear weapon if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon.

It’s almost funny how hawks that are dead-set against a nonproliferation agreement pretend to care about nuclear proliferation in the rest of the region. If they were genuinely concerned about nuclear future proliferation by U.S. allies and clients, you would think they would be eager to reach an agreement with Iran that significantly limits Iran’s nuclear program. If one assumes that there would be a wave of proliferation as a result of an Iranian bomb (which has strangely failed to happen for fifty years since Israel acquired its nuclear weapons), imposing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program through a negotiated deal would seem to be imperative in order to stop that future proliferation.

Then again, I doubt that there are any hawks that really believe this will happen. If they did, they wouldn’t so cavalierly propose the idea of attacking Iran, as John Bolton does again today in The New York Times, since such an attack would push Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and, if the hawks are to be believed, that would then prompt Iran’s neighbors to do likewise. If one wanted to “open the doors” to future proliferation, tearing up an agreement made in good faith with Iran regarding its nuclear program is a good way to start. Walker and Rubio have both committed to doing this if they become president, which is another excellent reason why neither of them should be allowed to hold that office.

Once again, Iran hawks oppose the means that has the best chance of ensuring that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons while many of them demand military action most likely to make the Iranian government want to have them. They feign concern about future proliferation while vowing to repudiate an agreement that has a good chance of preventing it. They claim to be interested in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran while doing everything in their power to make that outcome more likely.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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