sábado, 30 de enero de 2010

On Iran...

I have been doing some readings on the just use of force, intervention and military strikes. Extremely theoretical, so I feel kind of exhausted. However, I wrote something about Iran and its nuclear aspiration, what seems to increasingly concern the public opinion.

Let me share with you a couple of excerpts of this unfinished paper/research.


On the moral judgment of Motives and Ends


They are the answer to the following question: what do we intend to obtain by the implementation of such measures? And this is an important debate to have, as normally we focus our attention on means and disregard the motive, as the latter seems obvious to us and not worth our time in sound deliberation.


The classic example of this unwillingness to discuss the motives and the ends is the Melian dialogue at the History of the Peloponnesian War, where the brutish Athenian generals refuse to enter into a debate of the necessity of the actions they are about to undertake. For them these actions are the indispensable and inevitable steps towards granting security to the Athenian people they defend, and no negotiation on them can be even started. But Walzer warns us about that “necessity” as more often than not this judgment comes from man-made decisions, product of deliberation, appraisal of consequences and strategic considerations that have nothing inevitable or indispensable, “for inevitability here is mediated by a process of political deliberation, (…) [and we cannot know] what was inevitable until that process has been completed.”

It is thus important to emphasize a sound debate on the ends and the motives we are seeking with these measures short of force, for they can very easily be assumed to be fixed and therefore constrain our choice of policy.


To my thinking, a striking example of this issue is the current claimed necessity of preventing Iran from developing nuclear capabilities. (...) The widely-assumed, vital necessity of that goal leads us to think that anything short of that would be a disaster. Without entering into the debate, I contend that we too often narrow our choice of policy because of this incapability to reflect upon well-intentioned-but-rather-precipitous goals of total disarmament. (...) The right policy in this case does not seem to be a full-fledged invasion or a surgical military strike, and we tend to think in those terms because we do not upfront deliberate on our motives and ends. A nuclear-free Iran is clearly desirable, but short of that and aiming for a wider goal (regional stability, international peace), a stronger NATO’s commitment to defend the Gulf states, a closer military relationship US-Israel with provisions for the latter of second-strike capabilities, or counterbalance regional efforts seem now more reasonable policies that cast some light on the pretended vital necessity of the aforementioned goal.


Paraphrasing Kennedy, there are three possibilities in descending order of preference: an Iran with no nuclear capabilities, a Cold-War style deterrence in Central Asia, or the violent unpredictable upheaval that will ensue any military intervention. We ought to aim at the first, but we cannot really renounce the second until we are sure we can avoid the third.