Dr. Colin H. Kahl, Raj Pattani and Jacob Stokes argue in If All Else Fails: The Challenges of Containing a Nuclear-Armed Iran that the Obama administration is rightly committed to preventing – not containing – a nuclear-armed Iran, but add that prevention efforts, up to and including the use of force, could fail. Thus, they note, the United States could eventually be forced to shift to a policy of containment despite current preferences. Dr. Kahl, a CNAS Senior Fellow; Mr. Pattani, a Georgetown University security studies student; and Jacob Stokes, a CNAS Research Associate, outline a comprehensive framework to manage and mitigate the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran based on what they call the “Five Ds.” These five steps would deter Iranian nuclear and conventional threats, defend the U.S. homeland and American allies, disrupt Tehran’s destabilizing activities, de-escalate regional crises, and eventually denuclearize Iran’s program. Such planning and preparation is needed, they say, “not because the United States wants to take this path, but because it may eventually become the only path left.”
More from CNAS
CommentaryTwo Cheers for Esper’s Plan to Reassert Civilian Control of the Pentagon
The longest-ever gap in civilian leadership atop the Department of Defense came to an end on July 23, when Mark Esper was sworn in as secretary of defense. His presence in the...
By Loren DeJonge Schulman, Alice Hunt Friend & Mara Karlin
PodcastCNAS experts break down Trump's new National Security Strategy
CNAS Deputy Director of Studies dives into the Trump administration's National Security Strategy, talking strategy development, messaging, and implementation with CNAS experts...
By Loren DeJonge Schulman, Jerry Hendrix, Ilan Goldenberg & Daniel Kliman
Shaping U.S. Policy on Islamic State Amid Shifting Politics
An ABC News-Washington Post poll conducted after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks found that 73% of Americans support increased airstrikes against Islamic State and 60% favor increas...
By Richard Fontaine
Introducing Agenda SecDef
One year from now, somewhere in a small suite of offices at the Pentagon, a team of civil servants, military officers, and a smattering of outside civilians will be hard at wo...
By Loren DeJonge Schulman & Shawn Brimley