Time to Attack Iran? U.S. Policy and Iran's Nuclear Program

 Time to Attack Iran?
U.S. Policy and Iran's Nuclear Program

Wednesday, March 7

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Despite diplomatic negotiations, international condemnation, and harsh economic sanctions, Iran continues to violate its international obligations by pursuing nuclear weapons capability. While some are still holding out hope for a negotiated solution, a different debate has emerged in the United States over whether it is now time for the use of military force to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

On March 7, 2012, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) hosted a debate over the use of the military option against Iran’s nuclear program with Elbridge A. Colby (research analyst at CNA), Jamie M. Fly (FPI executive director), and Matthew Kroenig (assistant professor at Georgetown University) at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW). Eli Lake, senior national security correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, moderated the discussion.

Background Reading

Speaker Biographies

Elbridge A. Colby is currently a research analyst at CNA, where he focuses on deterrence, nuclear weapons, and related issues for a number of U.S. Government entities. Previously, he served as policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense’s Representative for the negotiations on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, as an expert advisor to the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, as special assistant to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as a staff member on the President’s WMD Commission, with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq, and with the State Department. Mr. Colby has also been an adjunct staff member with the RAND Corporation and is a consultant to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Global Security Directorate as well as a current or former consultant to a number of Department of Defense entities. He publishes regularly on defense and foreign policy issues in a variety of venues and has published book chapters in edited collections as well as articles, and op-eds in outlets such as Policy ReviewOrbis, The National Interest, and ForeignPolicy.com. He has also spoken to government, expert, university, and broader public audiences in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He is a recipient of the Exceptional Public Service Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and of the Superior Honor Award from the Department of State. A member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Mr. Colby is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Jamie M. Fly is the executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI). Prior to joining FPI, Mr. Fly served in the Bush administration at the National Security Council (2008 to 2009) and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (2005 to 2008). He was director for Counterproliferation Strategy at the National Security Council, where his portfolio included the Iranian nuclear program, Syria, missile defense, chemical weapons, proliferation finance, and other counterproliferation issues.  In the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he was an assistant for Transnational Threats Policy. For his work in the Department of Defense, he was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. He blogs regularly at The Weekly Standard blog and Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog, and his articles and reviews have been published in Commentary, National Review, POLITICO, The Weekly Standard, Forbes.com, USNews.com, and National Review Online. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He received a B.A. from American University and an M.A. from Georgetown University.

Dr. Matthew Kroenig is an assistant professor of Government at Georgetown University and a Stanton Nuclear Security fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons, coauthor of The Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey, and coeditor of Causes and Consequences of Nuclear Proliferation. Dr. Kroenig’s articles on international politics have appeared in many publications including American Political Science Review, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Newsday, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today. He has provided commentary on BBC, CNN, NPR, and many other media outlets. From July 2010 to July 2011, Dr. Kroenig was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow in the Department of Defense, where he worked on the development and implementation of U.S. defense policy and strategy in the Middle East. He has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California. In 2005, he worked as a strategist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he authored the first-ever, U.S. government strategy for deterring terrorist networks. For his work, Dr. Kroenig was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Award for Outstanding Achievement. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the Council’s Term Member Advisory Committee. Dr. Kroenig earned his A.B. at the University of Missouri and both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Eli Lake is the senior national security correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He previously covered national security and intelligence for The Washington Times. Mr. Lake has also been a contributing editor at The New Republic since 2008 and covered diplomacy, intelligence, and the military for the late New York Sun. He has lived in Cairo and traveled to war zones in Sudan, Iraq, and Gaza. He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President Bush’s axis of evil: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Mr. Lake is a graduate of Trinity College-Hartford.

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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