Looking to History Won't Help the Iranian Situation Today

February 15, 2012

Religious Freedom Project scholar William Inboden, writing in the Foreign Policy blog "Shadow Government," claims that with respect to Iran, history is a poor guide as to whether or not to intervene militarily against the country's nuclear ambitions. Given a dearth of historical analogies to the current situation vis-a-vis Iran, Inboden argues that most attempts by politicians to point to history for prescriptive answers to the question of "to bomb or not to bomb" are likely to "distort more than enlighten." Still, history is not without its lessons, and the biggest caution it offers on Iran is that of the history of unintended consequences. No matter what decision government(s) take on Iran, they should first and foremost be cognizant of the long histories of interventions in producing unintended consequences.

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