Chapter 3: Theories of International Relations


You are the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs for Germany. Iran declares that it has acquired and is ready to test a nuclear weapon. You are facing pressure from several key allies, especially the United States and the United Kingdom, to enter a coalition threatening military force if Iran tests its weapon.

Important background information

What do you do?

Take actionDeclare Germany's intent to ensure that Iran stays non-nuclear. Secretly accelerate nuclear program, with goal to be ready to test in 3-6 months. Militarize US warheads in case of conflict. (Realism)
Do nothingRely on the nuclear taboo. Even if Iran tests a nuclear weapon, they won't violate international norms and use one. And, if Iran doesn't use one, the US and Israel will have no need to use one. Better to keep Germany's hands clean. (Constructivism)
Join the coalition conditionallyDemand the coalition receive UN legitimacy before any action is undertaken. Additionally, back a new international agreement that demands International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approval before testing any nuclear weapon. (Liberalism)
Stay out of the coalitionEngaging in a war with Iran will be very expensive and will likely cause Germany to suffer an economic hit. Germany's capitalist economy is best served by maintaining international economic agreements but avoiding conflict-prone military commitments. (Marxism)