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3/5/21 Peter Van Buren on Nuclear Proliferation and the Redirection from the Middle East to China

Peter Van Buren is back for a conversation about President Biden’s foreign policy, especially regarding Iran. Van Buren explains the way that the JCPOA, signed under the Obama administration, lengthened the amount of time that it would take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, thus removing an excuse long used by Iran’s enemies as a threat of war. Trump, of course, backed out of this deal to appease his anti-Iran allies, but Biden was expected to rejoin—after all, he was part of the team that created the original agreement. But now, says Van Buren, the picture isn’t so clear. The Biden administration seems to be adopting a tough posture toward the rest of the world, one that makes it clear to all the same old “enemies” that we’re still willing to fight them, and also increases tensions with countries like China that are, if anything, supposed to be our allies. Van Buren and Scott worry about the consequences of such a posture, fearing that little can be done to oppose the overwhelming forces in the U.S. government that want America to maintain its position as global hegemon, whatever the costs in wasted money and human life.

Discussed on the show:

  • “Give Dealmaking Another Try” (The American Conservative)
  • “Red Dawn (1984)” (IMDb)
  • “‘Red Dawn’” (LewRockwell)
  • ““American neoconservatives: a history and overview” Jim Lobe” (YouTube)
  • “Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call” (BBC News)

Peter Van Buren worked for 24 years at the Department of State including a year in Iraq. He is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and the novel Hooper’s War. He is now a contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom;; Photo IQ; Green Mill Supercritical; Zippix Toothpicks; and Listen and Think Audio.

Shop Libertarian Institute merch or donate to the show through Patreon, PayPal or Bitcoin: 1DZBZNJrxUhQhEzgDh7k8JXHXRjYu5tZiG.

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About The Author

The Scott Horton Show from The Libertarian Institute

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from this website. He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. Visit

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