This is the Bomb

Column on World Affairs

By Carlos Martinez

Let’s bring up one of those news items that are very important but everybody is likely to overlook, such as a teabag costing fifty cents. The topic in question involves one of the most politically belligerent countries in the world for the past decade – Canada. The nation of Maple Syrup has officially cut its diplomatic ties with Iran, condemning the latter of both irrational and dangerous behavior.

As a matter of fact, John Baird, the Canadian foreign affairs minister (I know, I was surprised they had one as well) publicly referred to the Islamic Republic as “the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today”. That is the news, but what’s the biggie here? Looking critically at Canada’s potential, evacuating the diplomatic body from Tehran will mean mobilizing one or at most two chaps.

True. However, if we just concentrate on states as actors, it’s evident that Canada has joined the US and the UK in a trend of drastically severing diplomatic ties with Iran and publicly criticizing its policy. Global maneuvering is always worth noting. The key dilemma is between the two approaches that the problem of a potential Iranian bomb poses, both of them right (ever wondered why the Social Sciences department is the most popular one?). A defensive approach suggests that Iran getting the bomb would grant the Islamic Republic tangible security against both a neighboring nuclear threat (Israel) and constant negative pressure and animosity from the West (UN sanctions). In short, this side of the picture would translate into a more stable political situation in the Middle East by getting a nuclear bomb.

The opposite scenario is also possible. The open anti-Semitic traits that make Iran’s Facebook status “infamous” translate into motive for a hypothetical confrontation with Israel. Nonetheless, motive itself is useless if not combined with capacity, and this is when a nuclear bomb comes into play. Nuclear weaponry would make the difference between animosity and warfare.

Thus, Canada’s bandwagoning, even if only of a symbolic meaning, seems to be quite important. It is now when all kinds of theories arise, such as a hypothetical dyad of power in which the world would split into West vs. Middle East – basically, the equivalent of a modern Cold War, but just a bit warmer.

Let’s just hope Ayatollahs know how to play Risk.

Illustration by Carlos Martinez
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