Nuclear Proliferation and Terror

Christopher Hurtado —  October 6, 2008
Nuclear Proliferation and Terror | Christopher Hurtado

The Middle East Nuclear Proliferation

Iran feels threatened by neighboring countries on all sides. Furthermore, Iran is seeking to establish hegemony amongst its neighbors. Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is inevitable. However, this does not pose a threat since, as is true in all cases where nuclear weapons are concerned, Iran would only use its nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Furthermore, although Iran supports organizations labeled “terrorist” by the U.S. and Israel, Iran wouldn’t give any of these organizations a nuclear weapon to use.

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Nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East as a result of Iran’s inevitable acquisition of nuclear weapons is also likely unavoidable unless NATO can reassure Iran’s neighbors. However, this is unlikely since Israel and Pakistan already possess nuclear weapons and Turkey also intends to acquire nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the U.S. recently demonstrated to the world that possessing nuclear weapons is valuable in bargaining by taking North Korea off its “terrorist” list as a result of its nuclear program.

A primer on terrorism

The support of “proxy wars” by the U.S. and other nation states is responsible for modern-day “terrorism” as the U.S. and Israel define it. These nations have supported extra-state groups with intelligence, money and weapons in order to undermine states opposed to the West. The founder of al Qaeda and mentor of Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam , was among the “freedom fighters” supported by the U.S. through the Pakistani Secret Service in a “proxy war” against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

The appellation war on terrorism is problematic. The term terror acquired its current connotation in U.S. and Israeli political discourse as criminal antistate violence deserving of unrestricted retribution after the bombing of the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. The problem occurs when political discourse obfuscates the true nature of terrorism by labeling nearly all nonstate political violence “terrorism.” First, terrorism is not an ideology or a state, but a technique. Second, it is a form of asymmetrical warfare with its own strategy. Third, there is no one particular ideology common to all political violence. Fourth, most political violence is localized, targeted at nation-states and is legitimized, to a degree, by national and international laws.

Feelings of envy, inferiority, powerlessness, and humiliation in the face of globalization, the spread of American culture and growing corporate power has fueled hatred toward America. This hatred manifests itself in terrorist acts. U.S. and its allies have attempted to justify the use of war apparatuses by using the war metaphor. Ironically, this tends to evoke violence and to create “failed” states, which fosters terrorism. Also, there is no way to ascertain the defeat of such an elusive enemy.

Works Cited

The Middle East Nuclear Proliferation.docx This is part of a longer series of papers titled Deterrence Today: Roles, Challenges and Responses. Lewis A. Dunn. Summer 2007. In collaboration with the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Global Problems 302-305.pdf. A Primer on Terrorism, Part III Resistance and Rebellion: Introduction.

Christopher Hurtado

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Christopher Hurtado is President and CEO of Linguistic Solutions and Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy and Political Science at Utah Valley University. He holds a BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic and Philosophy and an MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies. He coauthored Vacation Spanish: A Survival Guide for Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America. He is married to children's book author and homeschool mom, Alysia Gonzalez. Together they have nine children. They are active in their church and in their community.