In recent years, the Iranian government has invested a lot of funds in the development of ballistic missiles. The act can pose a threat as it may indicate a possibility of a future conflict between the U.S. and Iran. While it is crucial to support peace between the states, the intelligence agency, and the National Security Council should be informed about the potential outcomes. Gathering data and evidence from researchers can help prevent a war. Considering a variety of factors, it is possible that the conflict would occur within the next few years. The purpose of this report is to identify whether a purchase of ballistic missiles contributes to a probability of future conflict between the U.S and Iran and to inform governmental agencies about the findings.
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The possession of dangerous weapons by any country is a threat to worldwide peace. According to Mettler and Reiter, ballistic missiles are categorized as weapons of mass destruction (together with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons) (855). Thus, they can be utilized to cause massive damage and kill large numbers of people. The international community and the United Nations have been imposing sanctions on domains that acquire those weapons. The military power of a domain that has these weapons strengthens, thus causing imbalance when compared to other states. Mettler and Reiter concluded that the possession of ballistic missiles could decrease the probability of an attack in cases when the target has these weapons (856). Thus, international organizations should not pressure all countries to abandon these military armaments, as having them can be a guarantee of peace. However, the aspect of who can possess them and in what quantities should be considered.
Having military weapons can be an incentive to begin a multinational conflict. Mettler and Reiter state, “potential challengers possessing ballistic missiles are significantly more likely to initiate international crises” (854). Thus, the primary factor to consider is whether the domain already has the weapons in question. However, if a rival nation possesses misled as well, it is unlikely that the initiator would target it (Mettler and Reiter 855). The factor contributes to a possibility of disagreement resolution as well, as possession of ballistic missiles by two countries can de-escalate the conflict. In addition, Mettler and Reiter emphasize that other factors should be taken into consideration, such as the initial relationship between the nations (854). Thus, acquiring ballistic missiles should be viewed as a threat to international peace.
The events that lead to the hypothetical conflict are the purchase of ballistic missiles by Iran. Thus, the main argument is that Iran can use the acquisitions to cause significant damage. The circumstance increases the possibility that the country would utilize its military power to target other nations. More specifically, Iran can target the U.S. in its aggressive endeavors. As was concluded by Mettler and Reiter, a fact of possession is a potential danger to a peaceful relationship between the domains (854). There has been tension in the relationship between the U.S. and Iran, which is a contributing factor to the probability of conflict. In addition, the lack of diplomatic connections between the nations results in the inability to influence the decision-making process of Iranians. Thus, governmental agencies should investigate the Iranian purchase to determine the scope of the danger.
Therefore, identifying whether international peace would be challenged is necessary. The first indicator is the number of ballistic missiles Iran holds. If the county’s officials believe that the number of weapon they have is sufficient to cause significant damage, they may choose to attack. The next factors are the relationships with other states and international organizations. An increase in tensions can result in Iran’s decision to display its military power. Finally, the number of weapons that the U.S. and its allies have should be more significant than that in possession of Iran. Possible target countries should be able to respond appropriately to an attack (which would influence the likelihood of conflict). A decrease in this characteristic can result in military action. Utilizing these indicators can help identify whether the probability of conflict is increasing or decreasing.
Mettler, Simon and Dan Reiter. “Ballistic Missiles and International Conflict.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 57, no. 5, 2013, pp. 854-880.