Beyond Sand and Oil: The Nuclear Middle East

Beyond Sand and Oil: The Nuclear Middle East

Beyond Sand and Oil: The Nuclear Middle East

Beyond Sand and Oil: The Nuclear Middle East

Synopsis

Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Pakistan, and India. All of these nations located in or near the Middle East already have nuclear weapons, or have the desire and means to obtain them. When combined with the political instability of the region, these countries' nuclear programs present a tremendous security risk to the entire world.

Excerpt

In summer 2009, I taught a course on nonproliferation issues at Franklin College. Located in the idyllic city of Lugano, Switzerland, Franklin College is an American-accredited college with an impressively diverse international enrollment. Its highly dedicated faculty and administrators convey an almost old-fashioned commitment to personal interaction and respect for their students, creating an environment highly conducive to learning.

My experience there taught me a number of lessons that have been brought forward into this book. In preparing the lectures I was acutely aware that having served in various U.S. government positions that some of the students, particularly those from outside the United States, might harbor preconceived ideas that my presentations on such a politically charged topic as nuclear weapons in the Middle East would be biased in favor of those long supported by U.S. policy, beginning with Israel. In one respect they were partially correct; I long have respected the people and culture of that diminutive nation that to Israelis often appears as afloat in a sea of regional hostility. (That I harbor respect for, and had worked with, those in the Arab world also took several students by surprise.) But if there is any truism in assessing nuclear developments in the Middle East, it is that the way things appear on the surface often are bent in new directions through the prism of deeper reflection. For this reason I decided long before the first words flowed in the classroom that I would present as balanced a portrait of the region’s nuclear programs—civilian and military—as possible, although I also was committed to conveying my assessment of the political dynamics underlying those programs. That . . .

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