Political Scientist Dominc Tierney Discusses Iran War Clock on MSNBC

MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt: 'Iran War Clock' at Ten Minutes to Midnight

March 11, 2012

Summary: Dominic Tierney of Swarthmore College joins MSNBC'S Alex Witt to discuss a new measure of war and peace called the "Iran War Clock" which suggests there is a 48% chance of war between the US or Israel and Iran within the next year.

Partial transcript:

Alex Witt (host): You spoke with a number of people, correct, to put this clock together? What did you gather and how did you get to 10 minutes to midnight?

Dominic Tierney: Sure, so, with American troops having finally left Iraq, and U.S. troops on the way out of Afghanistan, Americans would be forgiven for thinking that the tide of war is finally receding in the Middle East. But war with Iran is getting closer. And to find out just how close, we assembled a high-profile panel of experts, a kind of dream team of academics, journalists, policy makers, people who really know what's going on. And their estimate of the odds of war between the U.S. or Israel and Iran in the next year was 48 percent. So, it's basically a coin toss. And then based on that number, we adjusted the Iran War Clock, so it now is set to ten minutes to midnight.

AW: OK, so you've got 48 percent saying this may happen within the next year, but I'm going to flip it and say there's 52 percent who are saying we're still at peace for this next year. At what point and how much would it take to notch that up to 49, 50 percent or beyond?

DT: Well, we have a very fast moving and dangerous situation. I mean, just take Israel for example. So, Israel is deadly serious about stopping Iran's nuclear program.  And they see a narrowing window of opportunity where they can strike Iran before Iran is able to put its capabilities essentially beyond Israel's capacity to destroy.  And so it's very easy to see how an incident could happen that could escalate unless cooler heads prevail. ...