Unthinkable Epub å Hardcover

Unthinkable Epub å Hardcover


  • Hardcover
  • 560 pages
  • Unthinkable
  • Kenneth M. Pollack
  • English
  • 13 January 2016
  • 9781476733920

10 thoughts on “Unthinkable

  1. Joseph Stieb Joseph Stieb says:

    In some ways this book probably suffered from bad timing PUblished just 2 years before US Iran nuclear deal it looks like it didn't garner a whole lot of attention That's too bad This is a thoughtful level headed evidence driven examination of policy options Pollack ultimately comes down on the side of containing Iran although his argument is a bit multifaceted than that Containment vis Iran shouldn't mean just letting them have NW The United States should maintain a set of pressures an incentives to convince Iran to give up what appears to be a pursuit of nuclear weapons and accept outside regulation and support for civilian nuclear energy This is essentially what the United States got in the 2015 deal and I would assume Pollack supported that deal Probably the strongest and most interesting part of the book is Pollack's thorough refutation of a surprise strike on Iranian nuclear sites There are just too many problems with this idea the Iranian sites are too dispersed and hardened so taking them out would reuire multiple strikes; even a successful strike would only set them back a few years; a strike would probably undermine the sanctions by breaking up the international coalition a strike would probably help the regime by causing a nationalist backlash in Iran; because the United States can't invade Iran we would probably end up containing Iran anyway after the strike; Iran has means of retaliation including terrorism and possibly blocking the Straits of Hormuz Before reading this book I was like 5% in favor of strikes 95% against Now it is like 99 1 Ultimately this book makes a judicious case for a policy of containment as the best bad option on IranThat being said a book that's designed to influence the publicpolitical debate should probably be shorter and punchier than this one Pollack is incredibly methodical in his argumentation and I appreciate his leveling with the author in terms of what can and cannot be known However I often felt like I was running over a lot of the same ground in this book and I found myself skimming large sections So while I didn't find anything in the argument objectionable I'll probably end up using this book as a reference It needs about 50 pages consolidated down It is therefore hard for me to recommend it unless you are studying Iran policy at the graduate level so I guess I still don't have a pithy Iran book to recommend to people


  2. Doreen Petersen Doreen Petersen says:

    Very interesting book Gives lots of food for thought I would recommend this one


  3. Joseph Spuckler Joseph Spuckler says:

    Unthinkable Iran the bomb and American Strategy by Kenneth Pollack is an investigation into the American and Iranian relationship and possible plans of action Kenneth Pollack earned a BA from Yale and a PhD from MIT From 1988 through 1995 he was an analyst on Irai and Iranian military issues for the CIA In 1999 he rejoined the National Security Council and has served as a professor at the National Defense University Outside of the government Pollack work for the Brookings Institution and the Council of Foreign Relations In the field of International Relations there are two camps The Liberal Theory and the Realist Theory The Liberal camp believes in cooperation among nations and if there is a problem there should be a group effort international institutions to solve it Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations Roosevelt’s United Nations even both Bush's Ira invasions involved coalitions of like thinking nations The idea of working as group and improving ties helps keep peace by developing common ground and interests Ideas of interlinked trade and democracy creates dependencies among nations ensuring peace and stability The European Union and NAFTA are examples The Realists believe the individual states are the main players in the international arena States should act in their own interests and to ensure their own security Relations between states is determined by their relative power Economic political and military strength are the determinates of power Self interest and power drive the Realist Theory Kissenger and Reagan are examples American Realists Reagan's unilateral attacks on Iranian oil platforms in the the Persian Gulf 1987 or the mining of Nicaraguan harbors 1984 are examples of the Realist Theory in action Kenneth Pollack is a Realist and that is fairly rare in American writing Most writing today is from the Liberal Theory Leverett and Flynt's Going to Tehran is an excellent excellent of Liberal Theory and Iran Pollack book is a counter balance and presents an American centric view of Iran rather than an international view The differences can be readily seen in the writing Pallack uotes Hooman Majd The Ayatollah Begs to Differ and The Ministry of Guidance Invites You Not to Stay in his book Majd writing about the Green Revolution in Iran spoke of the restraint of the Iranian government and stated the government figure of under 100 deaths in the riots The government concentrated on mass arrests and then released most explaining that the people were caught up in a frenzy much like an angry football mob and that did not constitute treason The Greens agreed with with the less than 100 death toll In Tunisia for example 338 died Egypt 846 Yemen 2000 Bahrain 120 Libya 30000 Syria is approaching 100000 Majd saw this as restraint and the only way the Iranian regime could keep power Pollack writes “They arrested all of the opposition leaders and with thousands ; they beat up hundreds if not thousands and killed perhaps as many as a hundred for good measure – often at random to drive home to the revolutionaries that anyone involved with the Greens might pay the ultimate price” Both authors present the same facts but their tone is very different Pollack writes very well and with his experience I would have assumed that he was than a few years older than I am rather than three years younger I could not help being taken back to the Cold War Era when I read his description of what you need to know to be an expert on Iran Two phrases are all you need “I don't know” and “it depends” Shades of the former Soviet Union The similarities are are remarkable Unthinkable is filled with relative information and an excellent example of the Realist Theory in action It is a very worthwhile read for any wanting to understand the inner workings of foreign policy and Iran Pollack is a refreshing change to the usual opinions of Iranian foreign affairs He presents a wealth information and carefully backs his opinions and findings with plenty of source material I recommend this book for anyone looking into current American foreign policy or Iran in the world Dr Pollack is indeed an expert in his fieldThe reviewer holds a MA in International Relations with a concentration in US Security Policy from St Mary's University San Antonio TX He is a supporter of the Liberal TheoryThe uote is from the uncorrected galley of the book It is being used to show the author's tone rather than to verify specific factual information


  4. Julian Douglass Julian Douglass says:

    Reading this 4 years after this was published and 3 and 12 years after the Iran Nuclear deal was signed I think that Mr Pollack laid down a thorough and well researched position on how to deal with Iran and their nuclear weapons capability The problem that come from this book is that some of the chapters and policy he lays out is way to long and way too repetitiveI understand that he has points that he wants to hammer home but each chapter gives us the same ideas and the same things to try without any new groundbreaking ideas I feel this book could be 250 300 pages and cover the same amount of material without boring the readers to death


  5. Sharon Zink Sharon Zink says:

    Very clear description of the problems facing the US in regard to Iran obtaining nuclear weapons


  6. Matt Matt says:

    The single biggest strength of the book is its clear and insightful analysis Pollack takes care to frame the true nature of the Iranian nuclear problem dispelling misconceptions and calming hyperbole at the same time I found four insights he makes in this process particularly noteworthy1 Iran is operating from a weakened defensive position economically sanctioned diplomatically isolated politically divided internally militarily threatened by Israel and the United States p 652 The threat is not as ominous as it is often portrayed The likelihood of Iran developing the capability to build a nuclear weapon then slipping down the slope of deciding to use it building it and then actually using it is fairly low p66 683 Were Iran to acuire nuclear weapons it wouldn’t spell immediate disaster “The pattern of states that have acuired nuclear weapons is that their behavior does not change once they cross that threshold” p814 A policy of containment does not euate with a policy of appeasement despite claims of the American right to the contrary Containment has been very successful in American history both against Iran and other countries p280 284It has it's weaknesses too 1 While his argument in favor of future containment is well laid out he leaves unexamined these past and gone options – how the United States employed them why they are no longer available and how they compared with those available to us now2 “If you end up agreeing with me great Similarly if you end up disagreeing with me and preferring a different policy option toward Iran that’s good too” p xix A statement like this may seem disarming and inviting But if Pollack is hoping to inform the policymaking debate with a persuasive analysis this tone also appears noncommittal deferring to personal preference rather than strength of evidence It’s too easy – almost acceptable – to disregard a ualified expert who says ‘It’s fine if you disagree with me’ and who uses the words “likely” “unlikely” and “probably” 427 times to describe possible Iranian intentions and responses to American policy decisions There are entirely too many opportunities throughout the book for a critic to ‘prefer’ to disagree with Pollack’s assumptions and conclusions for him to take such a soft toneIn the end however the strengths of the book outweigh the weaknesses in my opinion It is a balanced approachable and insightful analysis of policy options available to the United States for dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue Even when the issue is settled and the specifics of the book are no longer relevant the example of how to analyze policy options will remain


  7. Jerome Jerome says:

    In this well written volume Pollack examines the state of US Iranian relations and how trust has been almost completely destroyed by Iranian support for terrorism and Western rhetoric While US and Israeli policymakers continue to mull over the possibility of a pre emptive strike against Iranian facilities Pollack points out that an Israeli first strike would only be possible with US support that it would probably be only a temporary setback for Iran and that such action may possibly start a regional war Pollack argues that negotiations are the best of several bad options if the concessions are significant enough and also points out the various pitfalls of this option Pollack does not pretend to offer a perfect solution and explains thoroughly why his own preferred “solution” may be unwise in the long run elaborating on why the Iranians are unlikely to significantly budge on the nuclear issue Pollack argues that pre emptive military action would lead to retaliatory terrorism by Iran which Pollack suggests somewhat unconvincingly would lead to direct US military intervention; hence his preference for containment He also argues that containment failed with Saddam’s Ira although this isn't really convincing either since it did arguably lead to Saddam’s abandonment of his nuclear ambitions There are also a few minor factual errors like the dates of the IAEA’s UN referral of Iran’s nuclear program and the rate of inspections and confusing a 2009 deal as taking place in Vienna when it was actually reached in GenevaEvenhanded informative and refreshing if slightly tedious


  8. Adam Maisel Adam Maisel says:

    35 stars 4 stars for content 3 stars for overall readabilityMr Pollack has presented a thorough informative and generally readable account of America's options with dealing with the Iranian nuclear program While Mr Pollack has a past reputation as a hawkish analyst his book endorses the containment strategy that the Obama administration is pursuing while spelling out the advantages and disadvantages of it as well as Israeli or American airground incursions Mr Pollack does very well to remain above the pale of some of the rabid arguments for and against intervention that dominate the major media outlets and though he makes very clear in the introduction which course of action he favors he gives objective as one possibly can treatment to all options and outcomesThe author's arguments become redundant at times but overall Unthinkable provides an important starting point for anyone seeking a informed conversation on Iran's nuclear aspirations and what the United States should do about it


  9. K C K C says:

    I probably would have appreciated this book a lot if I had read it when it came out instead of 2 years later A lot has happened in those two years which made me uestion some of the authors assumptions in the first half of the book ie Rouhani leading Iran the fall of the Arab spring the rise of ISIS and now the collapse of Yemen all instances where Iran has become a stronger not a weaker force However despite this and despite the fact that I found the first half to two thirds incredibly repetitive and boring making me wonder why I picked up the book in the first place I found his conclusions and recommendations insightful practical and in most instances realistic the one exception being his belief that the US can still have a successful policy of regime change And it gave me hope that Obama's policy and the soon to be finalized Iranian agreement may not be as cataclysmic bad as I fear


  10. Jerome Jerome says:

    This book is written by in insider a former CIA guy and government official of a conservative bent In other words Iran is the bad guy and the USA is the good guy For the most part the author begins his argument against Iran with the 1979 overthrow of the Shah who was just about as bad as Saddam Husayn as a dictator and for the most part ignores or downplays the overthrow by the CIA and MI6 of the legitimate if not liked government of Mosadde which was the real start of problems between the West and Iran I found the book to be rather repetitive about the wrongs of the Iranian government and a general whitewash of the CIA and the American governments actions Some useful information but should be read with a grain of salt


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Unthinkable[BOOKS] ⚣ Unthinkable By Kenneth M. Pollack – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk The world’s foremost expert on Middle Eastern relations examines Iran’s current nuclear potential and charts America’s future course of actionHow close are we to a nuclear Iran What does it mean The world’s foremost expert on Middle Eastern relations examines Iran’s current nuclear potential and charts America’s future course of actionHow close are we to a nuclear Iran What does it mean for American foreign policy How did we get to this point And what do we do now In Unthinkable Kenneth Pollack a former CIA analyst with twenty five years of experience working on the Middle East explores America’s intractable problem with Iran Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and the pro­longed clash that led us to this point Pollack lays out key solutions to the Iran nuclear ues­tion explaining and assessing the options for American policymakers • Redoubling our efforts at a carrot and stick approach that combines negotiations and sanctions • Aiding the Iranian opposition to bring about a popular form of regime change • An Israeli military strike • The American military option • Containing a nuclear Iran Insightful powerful and balanced in its approach Unthinkable is one of the most thought­ful and important books on foreign policy in the past decade.