Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

West Pursues Two "Hares" in Iran and North Korea
MAGOSAKI Ukeru / Professor, National Defense Academy

July 6, 2005
One of the most important issues in international politics today is how to respond to the nuclear threat from Iran and North Korea. The two countries are on the brink of becoming nuclear powers and heightening international tension. How to deal with Iran and North Korea at this point in time is critical.

Controlling nuclear weapons has been the most important task of international politics since the end of World War II. The United States managed to control the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union, a much bigger military power than either Iran or North Korea and a country with a solid ideological foundation, that of expanding communism. This was not coincidental; it was made possible by careful strategic planning on the part of the U.S.

Henry Kissinger's Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy published in 1957 is a classic work in nuclear management. In the book, he summarizes American strategy as follows:
1. Countries possessing nuclear weapons will use nuclear weapons rather than accept unconditional surrender. At the same time, these countries will not risk the dangers of nuclear war unless their survival is directly threatened.
2. It is the task of American foreign policy to make a framework in which unconditional surrender is clearly ruled out and any conflict can be resolved without calling into question the existence of a nation.
3. The United States must secure a strong and well-protected retaliatory power so that invading countries do not find any benefit in waging all-out war.

The above principles lessened the dangers of Soviet nuclear weapons. Let us now apply these principles in considering the nuclear weapons of North Korea and Iran. To put it another way, the above principles mean that "nuclear powers may resort to the use of nuclear weapons if those countries are asked for unconditional surrender or if their very existence is threatened." By the same logic, countries with the possibility of becoming nuclear powers "may acquire nuclear weapons if they are asked for unconditional surrender or if their very existence is threatened." Let us now consider the US policy towards Iran and North Korea. The United States is asking for both "remaining non-nuclear" and "regime change" at the same time. This is clearly at odds with Kissinger's proposal, which was primarily aimed at discouraging the use of nuclear weapons. Why is the United States not pursuing a foreign policy "to make a framework which does not call into question the existence of a nation"?

In pursuing our foreign policy towards Iran and North Korea, we are now at a point where we must decide our priority, "remaining non-nuclear" or "regime change." This is the crux of the nuclear issue today. The priority of most people in Japan would be to prevent those countries from going nuclear; the Japanese people would not demand regime change. If we allow those countries to go nuclear now, there is no turning back. But regime change can be achieved some time in the future. The history of East Asian countries such as China, South Korea, and Taiwan shows that possibility of democratization is quite high, given twenty, thirty years time. Even in the Middle East, there has been a shift. Right after the revolution, Iran's foreign policy priority was exporting Islamic revolution; President Khatami is now advocating "dialogue between civilizations." The recent selection of Ahmadnejad as Iran's next president may appear as a setback to its democratic process. However, the fact remains that this is a choice taken by Iranian people in midst of an intense international environment, and we should actually regard this selection as one phase of a zigzag process toward democratization. Military option is not the only way to democratize a country; many other options are available.

Today, when the nuclear development of Iran and North Korea is a serious concern, it is of paramount and immediate importance to send to these countries a message that military power will not be used to force regime change. If Iran and North Korea cannot be sure of this point, they may proceed toward nuclear development as a means of ensuring the survival of the nation and maintaining the regime. It is a danger that is becoming a reality now.

The writer is a professor of the National Defense Academy.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

孫崎 享 / 防衛大学校教授

2005年 7月 6日






一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟

English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > West Pursues Two "Hares" in Iran and North Korea