Matthew Kroenig Speaks at Georgia Tech

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The Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP) hosted Dr. Matthew Kroenig, Associate Professor and International Relations Field Chair in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, for a discussion of Iran’s nuclear program on October 21, 2014.  Dr. Kroenig is the author of A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat (Palgrave Macmillan Trade, 2014).

At dinner, Nunn School faculty and students discussed nuclear security issues with Professor Kroenig. The conversation also touched on how academics can find policy world relevance, as well as the opportunities and dilemmas encountered when one is a public voice on contentious policy issues like Iran.

The next morning Kroenig participated in a professional development session where he discussed his substantive interests, as well as how international security scholars can enhance the policy resonance of their research.. This session was attended by Nunn School graduate students. It was also broadcast as a live webinar to the Program on Strategic Stability Evaluation (POSSE) group. Sponsored by successive grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, POSSE is building a global network of leading and emerging scholars of nuclear and international security.  POSSE is co-directed by Professor Adam N. Stulberg (INTA/CISTP) and Professor William C. Potter (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies). The session’s virtual format allowed POSSE members from Russia, China, Pakistan, and other parts of the U.S., as well as Nunn School attendees, to engage Kroenig on professional topics such as publication venues, career planning, and how academics can establish inroads into D.C. policy circles.

In his public talk, Kroenig discussed the security implications of a nuclear-armed Iran. While making it clear that he did not advocate war, he claimed that all signs point to the Islamic Republic’s interest in the bomb and that time is rapidly elapsing for an effective negotiated or even credible preemptive strike.  He argued that on balance the “costs” and challenges of a preemptive strike would prove to be less than those associated with attempting to contain a nuclear armed Iran.  The latter scenario, for example, would further destabilize the Middle East, encourage arms racing, and significantly increase the odds of a regional nuclear conflict. Given these high stakes, Kroenig advocated that U.S. policymakers keep the option of preemptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure on the table.

Matthew Kroenig is an Associate Professor and International Relations Field Chair in the Department of Government at Georgetown University and a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council. His most recent book, A Time to Attack: The Looming Iranian Nuclear Threat (2014), examines all aspects of the Iranian nuclear challenge, including the rationale behind the U.S. policy of ruling out containment as an option if diplomacy fails. He is author or editor of several other books, including Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons (2010), which received Honorable Mention for the International Studies Association Best Book Award. His articles on international politics have appeared in such publications as American Political Science ReviewForeign AffairsForeign Policy, International OrganizationThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post, and USA Today. He has provided commentary on BBC, CNN, C-SPAN, NPR, and many other media outlets.


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