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Chapter 4

Michael Anton’s “Iran and the Costs of Containment”

This exercise asks you to read an article about alternative US policies towards Iran and consider whether the Cold War is a good template for current strategy. Please note that this article was written before an interim agreement with Iran was made in the fall of 2013.

1. What alternatives to containment does Anton list? In what key respect do they differ from containment?

2. During the Cold War, what domestic adjustments were necessary to make containment work?

3. During the Cold War, what role did nuclear weapons and alliances play in containment? How did this contribute to “complicated logistics?”

4. Thinking back to the alternatives to containment discussed by Anton, does he think those alternatives could have been used against the Soviet Union, and do you agree? Why?

5. What does Anton think could happen if Iran develops nuclear weapons?

6. Which perspective do you think Anton is using in his analysis, and why? How does he draw causal arrows among the various factors he discusses?

7. Given what you know of the interim agreement with Iran made in the fall of 2013 (and any subsequent agreements), do you think the Obama administration might have agreed with Anton’s analysis? Why or why not?