Going Nuclear: the influence of history and hindsight on the Iranian nuclear negotiations

Mastering decision making requires that we study the strategies and methods employed by decision makers in different contexts. It’s also important that we learn about barriers to clear thinking and objective analysis, which include a variety of fallacies and biases that individually and collectively can blind, influence and confound us. Hindsight bias is among the most common and pervasive of these because it affects how we remember the past, understand the present and foresee the future.

This book considers its likely influence on leaders and policy makers in Russia, China and the Middle East, as their decisions set the stage for a ‌potential conflict and nuclear arms race in the region. It describes the impact of Russian actions against Ukraine, the implications for other countries threatened by regional neighbors and offers insights into the positions taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese government with regard to Iran’s nuclear program.

Why should you spend time studying this case if you are not involved with foreign policy? Because it can help you understand how hindsight and other biases undermine our ability to analyze situations and make effective decisions. You will learn how to spot the influence of these biases in other situations that you and your organization may be involved with, such as negotiations, international trade and finance. And by studying how biases affect leaders on the international stage, you may become more sensitive to their effects on you and those you work and share your life with. You cannot avoid being affected by biases, but fortunately, you can learn to tame their damaging effects. That was my purpose in writing this book.


Going Nuclear offers a unique perspective into the negotiations and potential repercussions based on important findings and lessons from psychology, neuroscience and decision making. It explores the influence of history and hindsight bias on Russia, China, Iran, Israel and Sunni Arab Countries, and the implications for the United States and its Western partners. It discusses the history of proliferation and its benefits, costs, risks and uncertainties for countries that succeeded in becoming nuclear powers. Those factors are at play as Iran seeks to follow in their footsteps, while its neighbors remained determined to prevent it.

Going Nuclear reaches beyond the saga of the Iranian negotiations to discuss the influence of history and hindsight in other contexts, including technical analysis, decision making, leadership and business. The book contains numerous references and supplemental notes from psychology, intelligence analysis, military history and other fields. These provide the reader with many sources they can use for further study and understanding of the topics in this timely book.

B.L. van Veen
Full review of Going Nuclear is on Amazon

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