Iran's nuclear weapons development continues apace, threatening the security of its neighbors and the international community. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, more than 60 percent of the American public believes preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons warrants military action. Israel's deputy foreign minister, Daniel Ayalon, emphasized on September 21 that Israel has “not taken any option off the table” when it comes to countering the Iranian threat. The same day, Israel's top general, chief of staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, made it clear that he would not rule out a military strike on Iran's nuclear installations, repeating that "Israel has the right to defend itself and all options are on the table." As the debate intensifies over how to respond most effectively to Iran's provocations, it is timely to explore the strategic and legal parameters of a potential Israeli strike against the Islamic Republic and provide some thorough analysis about implications for the United States.
The speakers in Panel I will consider the international legal aspects of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations. What treaties are relevant? How might Iran retaliate against Israel, the United States, or other countries? Would an Israeli attack violate international law? Or would it be legitimate self-defense? Eric Posner of the University of Chicago Law School, Gregory E. Maggs of George Washington University Law School, and Edwin D. Williamson of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP will discuss these and other legal considerations. AEI visiting scholar John Yoo will moderate.
The speakers in Panel II will consider strategy and policy. What role will the United States play in supporting its ally Israel? Can military action taken by Israel effectively deter Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? AEI senior fellow John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; the Brookings Institution's Martin Indyk, former ambassador to Israel; and AEI resident scholar Michael Rubin will discuss these strategic policy questions. AEI's vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, Danielle Pletka, will moderate.
|1:00||Panel I: International Law
|Panelists:||Gregory E. Maggs, George Washington University Law School
|Eric Posner, University of Chicago|
|Edwin D. Williamson, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
|Moderator:||John Yoo, AEI
|2:30||Panel II: Strategy and Policy
|Panelists:||John R. Bolton, AEI|
|Martin Indyk, Brookings Institution|
|Michael Rubin, AEI|
|Moderator:||Danielle Pletka, AEI|
John R. Bolton, a diplomat and a lawyer, has spent many years in public service. From August 2005 to December 2006, he served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. From 2001 to 2005, he was under secretary of state for arms control and international security. At AEI, Ambassador Bolton's areas of research include foreign policy and international organizations.
Martin Indyk is vice president and director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. A former ambassador to Israel and assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs during the Clinton administration, he currently focuses on the Clinton administration's diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Gregory E. Maggs joined the George Washington University Law School faculty in 1993 and became the senior associate dean for academic affairs in 2008. He mainly teaches commercial law, constitutional law, contracts, and counterterrorism law and has written extensively on those subjects. He has been a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Anthony M. Kennedy and for U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Joseph T. Sneed. He is a member of the advisory board for the Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and a member of the American Law Institute. Mr. Maggs has been an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve since 1990 and serves from time to time as a military judge hearing appeals from courts-martial.
Danielle Pletka served for ten years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Since coming to AEI, Ms. Pletka has developed a conference series on rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq, directed a project on democracy in the Arab world, and designed a project to track global business in Iran. She recently edited a publication on dissent and reform in the Arab World and coauthored a report on Iranian influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Ms. Pletka comments frequently on foreign and defense policy issues on television and in major American newspapers.
Eric A. Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He is the author of a number of books, including Law and Social Norms (Harvard University Press, 2000); and coauthor of The Limits of International Law (Oxford University Press, 2005) and Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts (Oxford University Press, 2007). He is also an editor of the Journal of Legal Studies. He has published articles on bankruptcy law, contract law, international law, cost-benefit analysis, constitutional law, and administrative law, and has taught courses on international law, foreign relations law, contracts, employment law, bankruptcy law, secured transactions, and game theory and the law. His current research focuses on international law, immigration law, and foreign relations law.
Michael Rubin's major research area is the Middle East, with special focus on Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, as well as Kurdish society. He also writes frequently on transformative diplomacy and governance issues. At AEI, Mr. Rubin chaired the "Dissent and Reform in the Arab World” conference series. He was the lead drafter of the Bipartisan Policy Center's 2008 report on Iran. In addition to his work at AEI, Mr. Rubin travels several times each month to military bases across the United States and Europe to instruct senior U.S. Army and Marine officers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan on issues relating to regional state history and politics, Shiism, the theological basis of extremism, and strategy.
Edwin D. Williamson rejoined Sullivan & Cromwell's Washington, D.C., office upon his resignation as legal adviser of the U.S. Department of State in January 1993. Since then, Mr. Williamson has engaged in a wide-ranging domestic and international financing and transactions practice. He is the coauthor of the firm's comprehensive memorandum on U.S. economic sanctions and advises on issues arising under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Mr. Williamson is a member of the executive committee of the U.S. Council for International Business and formerly served as a vice chairman of the executive board of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
John Yoo has been a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law since 1993 and is currently a visiting scholar at AEI. He served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003, where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security, and the separation of powers. He also served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 1996. He is the author of War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006) and The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11 (University of Chicago Press, 2005).