Foreign Policy

Yes, Incentives Matter (International Edition)


Jonathan Schwarz makes a point that ought to be obvious but apparently isn't:

In all the discussion about the current U.S. bombing of Libya, something important has gone almost unnoticed--the lesson the United States is teaching the government of every country on earth. That lesson is: no matter what, no matter the inducements or pressure, never ever give up chemical weapons or a nuclear weapons program. Doing so will not ensure that the U.S. does not attack you--on the contrary, it will make it much more likely….

Whether or not Iran has an active nuclear weapons program (it's still the official position of the U.S. intelligence community that it does not) we can be sure the Iranian faction that wants nuclear weapons has been tremendously strengthened by the attack on Libya. And the faction that believes Iran would be safer without nuclear weapons is much weaker, and in fact is probably being ridiculed for its embarrassing naiveté.

Something similar is going on inside the North Korean government. Anyone within the regime who's been pressing for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons is now in a much worse position.

There's more, including a reminder that "the current attack on Libya is not an unforeseen glitch in our efforts to get them to disarm. Instead, it was the explicit policy of the U.S. to get countries to disarm so that we would be able to attack them." Whole thing here.