RIP Containment - An Adapted Version of Prof. Bill Martel's Essay for 'The Diplomat'

Providence Journal

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

The West faces mounting evidence that Iran is getting closer to possessing nuclear- weapons capability.

In violation of six United Nations resolutions, Tehran continues to enrich uranium. According to The New York Times, intelligence agencies report that, "Iran in recent weeks has virtually completed an underground nuclear enrichment plant, racing ahead despite international pressure and heavy economic sanctions."

With President Obama's re-election, the fundamental question for policymakers is: How should we deal with Iran's nuclear efforts?

The reflex for the West is to pursue policies designed to ''contain'' the country.

And looking back on the last half century, it makes perfect sense to rely on such a strategy. Containment succeeded with the Soviet Union because the United States and its allies organized themselves to prevent the USSR -- an ideologically extreme, totalitarian, and economically backward society largely unconnected to the global economy -- from expanding its political, military, and economic sphere of influence.

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