So, is war with Iran imminent? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say “no”. Israeli officials are pressing the US to issue an ultimatum and threatening unilateral action. The time for negotiation is over, they claim. This isn’t novel by any means, but what explains the timing for this new push, I’d say, also explains why they’re unlikely to follow through. My guess is that it has nothing do to with new developments in Iran’s nuclear program or new information about it, but with events in Syria. Direct US engagement there seems increasingly likely as talks of a no-fly zone intensify. Even if the US manages to stay out of it (which I hope it does, by the way), we can’t be sure at this point, and that possibility detracts from their propensity to back Israel (which is minimal to start with) and the credibility of their threats. The thing, however, is that no amount of moaning from Israeli officials is going to change the situation on the ground in Syria, and that issue now seems to take precedence over Iran, mainly because most in the US still believe that sanctions are doing their work on the Iranian economy and time is on their side, at least for now. The tragedy for Israeli hawks, of course, is that their inability to make good on these threats reduces their credibility.
What do you think?
Nick Wheeler and I have a short article in the latest issue of the RUSI Newsbrief, on the Iranian nuclear issue. We argue that although the language of trust-building is now being deployed in negotiations by both sides, neither Iran nor it’s Western counterparts are ready to make concessions, and we try to explain why. I won’t give away the gold, you can read the whole thing here: http://goo.gl/9xae9
On 23 June 2012, Dr. Naomi Head (University of Glasgow and Honorary Research Fellow in the ICCS) convened a panel at the British International Studies Association meeting in Edinburgh on “The Politics of Transformation: Trust, Empathy, and Dialogue”. Joining Dr. Head were Professor Nicholas Wheeler (Director of ICCS at the University of Birmingham), Laura Considine (PhD candidate at Aberystwyth University), Dr. Vincent Keating (lecturer at Durham University), and Dr. Jan Ruzicka (lecturer at Aberystwyth University). Professor Karin Fierke, from St. Andrews University acted as the discussant. The panel developed out of work on trust in international politics that was first begun by the participants at Aberystwyth University and each has collaborated with Wheeler in producing outputs in this area under the auspices of his project on ‘The Challenges to Trust-Building in Nuclear Worlds. The papers presented were an illustration of the divergences on fundamental issues of epistemology as well as definition and measurement of the key concept of trust within the broad research agenda.
If you meant to go see the panel but
was too hungover or still drunk on scotch didn’t get the chance for some reason, here’s my take on the panel and the papers: