- - Thursday, April 1, 2021

There are basic principles of human behavior which the Biden-Harris administration is ignoring in its misguided approach to Iran. The great psychologist B.F. Skinner elucidated the principle that when a particular behavior is followed by a reward, that behavior increases. We can see this process occurring as President Biden and Vice President Harris closely follow each instance of Iranian intransigence regarding re-entry into an Iran deal with a new, more conciliatory offer. From releasing billions of dollars to dropping the requirement that Iran first cease its nuclear proliferation violations of the Iran deal, the Biden-Harris administration is guaranteeing increased Iranian intransigence.

Skinner found that intermittent rewards increase the rewarded behavior even further. Just like the Las Vegas visitor who throws ever more coins into a slot machine that pays off irregularly, the Iranians will respond to intermittent concessions by Biden and Harris with even more bellicosity.

What would work to decrease Iran‘s persistent, illicit nuclear proliferation would be a consistent application of negative reinforcement for such actions, combined with offers of real rewards for real nuclear disarmament. What we do not need is the Potemkin sham mandated by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, on which Iran persistently cheated anyway.

It doesn’t take a behavioral psychologist to see this pattern. Anyone can look up “Neville Chamberlain, Munich, 1938” to see where the Biden-Harris appeasement paradigm is leading our country and the world at large.


Williamsville, N.Y.

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