A Policy Built on Sand

To augment Zwichenzug's earlier pro-proliferation post, I ran across this editorial today in the Financial Times that makes his point even more strongly in the context of discussing the Bush Administration's newly-released (but essentially unchanged) National Security Strategy.
[U]nlike Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iran has never in modern times launched an aggressive war against a neighbour and for a decade now has not been credibly accused of sponsoring a terrorist attack. As to the [National Security Strategy] criticisms of Iranian “tyranny”, this exemplifies the hypocrisy that undermines US claims to be spreading “democracy” in the Middle East – for along with its elements of theocratic authoritarianism, Iran also has more elements of representative democracy than any of America’s key Muslim allies in the region.

Preventive war against Iran would therefore be a monstrous act by any standard. The right to pre-emptive war against visibly imminent attack has always been asserted by the US and every other state. Preventive war against possible future dangers represents a deeply menacing revolution in international affairs. It is also ridiculous to suggest, as this NSS does, that the US should claim this right, without other states following suit.

In rejecting proposals for preventive nuclear war against the Soviet Union and China in the early 1950s, President Harry Truman put it well: “The only thing you prevent by war is peace.” ....

But now Washington and Tel Aviv want it both ways. They want simultaneously to possess nuclear deterrents and to prevent other states from developing the nuclear forces they are supposed to deter. It is impossible to base any legal, consensual or stable international order on such an intellectually and morally incoherent foundation.|Financial Times Editorial|

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