On a July 10 press release on his website, Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani announced his foreign policy team members. Mentioned in the release are S. Enders Wimbush and Norman Podhoretz.
In this op-ed titled The End of Deterrence published by the Weekly Standard, Wimbush, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute and director of its Center for Future Security Strategies, promotes an aggressive policy towards Iran. Despite sufficient analysis indicating the contrary, Wimbush writes under the complete assumption that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
With nuclear weapons, Iran will have gained the ability to deter any direct American threats, as well as the leverage to keep the United States at a distance and to discourage it from helping Iran’s regional opponents.
Would the United States be in Iraq if Saddam had had a few nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them on target to much of Europe and all of Israel?
Wimbush continues this line of reasoning to surmise that nations with small nuclear arsenals are more dangerous than those with large stockpiles. Wimbush provides no evidence or historical precedents to support this assumption, nor does he provide any citations or context to validate his claims of the Iranian leadership’s willingness to “martyr the entire Iranian nation.”
[Iranian nuclear] Arsenals will be small, which sounds reassuring, but in fact it heightens the dangers and risk. New players with just a few weapons, including Iran, will be especially dangerous. Cold War deterrence was based on the belief that an initial strike by an attacker could not destroy all an opponent’s nuclear weapons, leaving the adversary with the capacity to strike back in a devastating retaliatory blow.
Iran’s leadership has spoken of its willingness–in their words–to “martyr” the entire Iranian nation, and it has even expressed the desirability of doing so as a way to accelerate an inevitable, apocalyptic collision between Islam and the West that will result in Islam’s final worldwide triumph.
Wimbush contends that Iran’s push for nuclear power is causing other countries in the region to pursue nuclear weapons, but makes no mention of Israel’s nuclear program or Iran’s possible motivations for pursuing deterrent capabilities.
Similarly, Norman Podhoretz, also named as a senior policy team member for Giuliani’s campaign, recently wrote a controversial op-ed arguing The Case for Bombing Iran. Dr. J.P. Hubert notes several fallacies in Podhoretz’s argument in A Response to Norman Podhoretz:
Islamist Terrorism is a non-state phenomenon which employs Jihadi-based terrorism/suicide terrorism as a form of asymmetrical warfare in multiple different and diverse settings some of which directly target the West particularly the United States (e.g. Al Qaeda) while others do not (Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, etc). To lump them all under the rubric of “Islamofascism” as Podhoretz does is intellectually bankrupt and represents a sophistic attempt to gain with rhetorical flourish that which upon careful analysis is simply vacuous.
Podhoretz appears in the short clips below endorsing his views. The first clip is a part from a longer interview entitled “The Case for Bombing Iran,” available here. For more background on Giuliani’s announcement, see Jim Lobe’s article.
Irancove @ July 15, 2007