Monday, December 11, 2006

A side-effect of nuclear know-how

The news that the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have announced their view that they have a 'right to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purposes' is no doubt a reaction to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, although they deny it. A happy side-effect for the countries involved is that by developing nuclear technology they will effectively thwart outside efforts to encourage democracy within their borders.

If the GCC countries develop nuclear weapons, western governments will have a powerful interest in maintaining their undemocratic status quo, since Islamist parties frequently form the only opposition in these countries. In the short-run pursuing stability will be the west's only option, but this will only increase the problems in the Middle East long-term.

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