http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138224/uri-bar-joseph/why-israel-should-trade-its-nukes

The best option for Israel would be to get rid of their nuclear weapons.  Israel faces numerous choices in handling Iran’s nuclear weapon program.  There have recently been talks of a military strike to halt Iran’s nuclear program since Iran does not have second-strike capabilities. 

However, a strike would only give rise to retaliation from Iran and terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel.  A strike would also provide justification and motivation for Iran’s pursuance of nuclear weapons.  The costs of militarily striking Iran greatly outweigh the possible extermination of the program, which makes it illogical.  However since Iran’s nuclear weapons are a concern with high issue indivisibility, war is still a possibility because issue indivisibility often causes states to overlook the costs.   

            Conversely, Israel giving up their nuclear weapons could cause a ripple effect in the Middle East.  “Iran has been calling for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East since 1974 and perceives the Israeli arsenal as a great threat” (Bar-Joseph), so if Israel gave up their weapons, “Iran will have no choice but to support the initiative” (Bar-Joseph).  Also, Israel’s nuclear weapon is not a significant part of its defense.  The reason opposing countries keep from taking up arms against Israel is not their weapon, but the United States’ support for Israel.  The only time the weapon would become important is if Iran or another state in the region obtained a nuclear weapon and this can be prevented by Israel giving up their weapons.  

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/28/rock_fight

China and Japan are in disputes concerning a group of islands referred to as the Diayou Islands by the Japanese and the Senkaku islands by the Chinese.  Holmes refers to the islands as “trivial stakes” to go to war over, but sees the possibility of a war becoming present. 

According to the bargaining model of war, states weigh the costs of war against the benefits and contemplate the decision of war by doing so.  However, one of the shortcomings of the bargaining model is its failure to take into consideration domestic politics.  In this scenario, the costs of war are clearly higher than the islands up for grabs, so it would be irrational to go to war.  But, war still remains a possibility because of the current domestic situation in China.  

Currently, there is a lot of internal dissension within China.  The presidential candidate that was expected to win the election is now embroiled in a huge scandal marring his political standing.  There is much uncertainty within the Chinese ruling party with the possibility of a power shift.  The Chinese political leaders do not want public attention on these issues and would much rather shift or divert the attention of the public to something else.  To do so, talks of the war with Japan over the Senkaku islands have emerged, since this is an easy diversion.  Although the Chinese do not view the Senkaku islands as a high prize, they may go to war with the Japanese to divert public attention from the political scandals.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/leaders-uk-iran-cameron-rouhani-meet-un-new-york

Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani and British Prime minister, David Cameron met this past week marking the first encounter between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.  The aim of their talk was to bring about “fundamental changes” in regards to the relationship between the two countries while also addressing the nuclear talks.  

This is an interesting political move on Rouhani’s part.  He is showing seeming willingness to cooperate with Western countries which is a change in Iran’s former foreign policy.  Iran, in recent years, has remained very closed off to any type of cooperation with the West, even if it was to their benefit.  This meeting is a monumental point in a change in Iran’s foreign policy towards the West.  

The article rightly states that although Rouhani has pleased World leaders by his meeting with Cameron, he must “proceed cautiously” with regards to the hardliners in Iran.  A portion of his constituents will not be pleased by Iran’s newfound cooperation with the West, given the past.  He has to balance pleasing his constituents and World leaders.  It is important to note, however, that a large portion of Iranians in Iran are in favor of cooperation with the West.     

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/opinion/08iht-edbremmer08.html?_r=0

With the uncertainty of China’s rise, tensions between the United States and China have increased.  Some have predicted a “new form of Cold-War style confrontation”.  However, this is not likely because of the United States and China’s economic interdependence.  The tensions between the two states will not escalate into a serious conflict because of the commercial peace between the two. 

Countries that trade more with each other are less likely to fight wars with each other because trade between countries makes war more costly and increases the size of the bargaining range.  Trade can make leaders less risk-inclined.  “With trillions invested in U.S. treasuries…China has a huge stake in a more robust U.S. recovery.  And the prospect of a rapidly growing consumer sector in China creates enormous opportunities for American agriculture and industry” (Gordon). 

Serious conflict between China and the US would not benefit either country and a “Cold-War style confrontation” is not favorable either since both economies are so reliant on each other.  A negative impact on the US’ economy will result in a negative impact on China’s economy and the possibility of “mutually assured economic destruction” is enough incentive to avoid the escalations of any tensions.   

Although critics of the commercial peace argue that trade can generate new frictions between countries, this will not affect the China-US relationship because of the extent of the economic interdependence of the two states.   

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141987/robin-simcox/isis-worst-nightmare

In this article titled “ISIS’ Worst Nightmare”, Robin Simcox argues against the idea that the US intervening militarily with the ISIS crisis would rally public support for the terrorist group and “bolster the jihadists’ narrative”, and instead believes that increased military efforts in Iraq would be “ISIS’ Worst Nightmare”.  

Although Simcox argues correctly that ISIS probably is not trying to provoke an attack from the US and that US’ military involvement in Iraq would be extremely detrimental to the terrorist group, it would nonetheless aid ISIS propaganda and increase the anti-West and anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, “especially if there are civilian casualties”, which are hard to avoid.  After the drawn out Iraq war, Iraqi civilians have a very low level of trust for the United States.  According to polls conducted by Shibley Telhami, the general consensus in Iraq and some Arab states regarding the Iraq war is that Bush used the pretense of democracy as a means to justify an unpopular war.  Arabs did not believe that the United State’s efforts to bring democracy to Iraq was sincere.  This may also be due to the history of previous presidents advocating for democracy and then putting it aside when other strategic priorities arose.  This distrust towards the United States will be heightened if the US pursues a higher level of military force because of the underlying assumptions of the Iraqi people and Arabs that the US’ intentions are not sincere.