Tag Archives: diplomacy

Iran’s Nuclear Strategic Decision Making, Is It Predictable?

Stable democracy countries which have long track record of nuclear possessions such as U.K., France and U.S usually are reliably predictable when it is relates to nuclear strategic decision making, on the contrary, countries without stable democracy such as North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, or Pakistan are more difficult to predict reliably on their act in the future (Walton and Gray, 2002). However, Iran makes a different, according to Chubin and Litwak (2003), public opinion in Iran supports an active international role for the country that allows it to be taken seriously and does not undermine its neighboring states’ reasonable search for security. In other words, Iran’s dynamic domestic politics present a possibility for influencing the country’s decision making about its nuclear strategic program.

Does it make Iran’s nuclear strategic decision making in the future predictable? As we know, Iran continues to insist on the peaceful character of its nuclear program which is developing nuclear energy program. However, along with achieving progress in enriching uranium, Iran has developed long-range missiles capable of reaching Israel as well as parts of eastern and southeastern Europe. These developments have increased the international concern over its nuclear program.

The concern about Iran’s right to nuclear technology program has often considered as a strategic way for its right to nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, according to Chubin and Liwak (2003) some observers have sympathized with Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. Supposedly because today’s Iran is located around the nuclearized neighbor countries – Israel and Pakistan – and U.S military power extended to Iraq and Afghanistan, causes a threat to Iran’s security.

In my opinion, Iran’s nuclear program has to be objectively study, especially its determination to pursue ambitious nuclear program for energy or power generation. The energy justification is frequently cited as Iran’s response to population growth and increased domestic energy consumption.  If so, to facilitate the energy rationale for the program, U.S or other international community concerned by the program should consider the technology alternatives in providing, selling or financing to nuclear energy for Iran.

Iran’s nuclear programs above mentioned, have two rationales, its security and energy purposes. With those rationales, certainly we can predict Iran’s nuclear strategic decision making and take measures for each rationales.


Chubin, S and Litwak, R,S. (2003), Debating Iran’s nuclear aspirations, The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Washington Quarterly • 26:4 pp. 99–114. Retrieved on 22 May 2010, from http://http://www.caspianstudies.com/…/iran%20nuclear/Debating%20Iran’s%20Nuclear%20Aspirations.pdf

Walton, C.D and Gray C.S. (2002), The second nuclear age: nuclear weapons in the twenty-first century, in Strategy in the contemporary world: an introduction to strategic studies, ed. John Baylis, Eliot A.Cohen, James J. Wirtz. Oxford University Press, USA. 


Leave a comment

Filed under International Security Studies (course)

MILITARY AND ECONOMIC POWER OR DIPLOMACY? The Choice of Foreign Policy Tools to Prevent Hostile Intentions (War)

Clausewitz’s idea on war (Howard and Paret, 1984) is intriguing, he expressed that war is not simply the act of policy but somewhat a true political instrument, the extension of political interaction, carried on with other means. If two civilized nations engaging war, then must be it is the continuation of their foreign political intercourse to some extent. Concerning tools of foreign policy, with military force and economic power as hard power and diplomacy as soft power, it is quite interesting to see whether these could be the policy instruments to avoid or at least to holdup hostile intentions of the adversaries that might raise the war as a serious means to a serious political end.

It has never crossed my mind that military force could actually achieve cooperative objectives rather than somewhat hostile’s. The former, in any way it is conducted, in my opinion, has less trigger effect to result in a war than the latter. As mentioned in the lecture, the cooperative objectives such as promoting economic development, democracy, human rights, preventing proliferation of WMD sounds very friendly compare to the hostile’s such as occupying land and disarming enemy, eliminating hostile groups etc. Nevertheless, since the nature of military force is somewhat hostile, we need to be very careful in engaging military force as foreign policy tools as it may sparks hostile feelings and intentions of other nations.

Economic power and diplomacy are closely related. Diplomacy has broad issues, and economy is just one part of the issues. Using economic diplomacy, in my opinion is effective enough to prevent hostile intentions. Take the Japan’s ODA for example, however, the implementation must not deviate from its original intentions otherwise it will hurt the domestic public and other nations feelings as in the case of Japan’s chequebook diplomacy in the 1991’s Gulf War.

Diplomacy itself, as a softpower, can penetrate deep into the heart of the people as in the conduct of cultural diplomacy, however at the same time it can be tough in compelling head of states or military power of adversaries to do our will as in coercive diplomacy where compellent and deterrent policies are implemented ( Sperandei, 2006).

In the end, it is hard to make a choice of which foreign policy tools to be engaged or what comes first between military force, economic power and diplomacy in avoiding any hostile intentions or war since war itself, as Clausewitz argued, not solely relied on political end but carried on with other means.


Howard, M and Paret, P, (1984), Carl Von Clausewitz: on war, Princeton University Press, New Jersey.

Sperandei, M, (2006), Bridging deterrence and compellence: an alternative approach to the study of coercive diplomacy, International Studies Review 8, 253-280. Retrieved on April, 23, 2010 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3880225

Leave a comment

Filed under International Security Studies (course)