Paul Bracken, a professor of political science at Yale, says that the threat of a nuclear Iran is already realigning the balance of power across the globe. With Russia and China’s growing influence in the Middle East, a nuclear Iran threatens U.S. influence in the region and, by proxy, internationally.
According to Bracken, we are living in a second nuclear age, in which the rapid technological development of nuclear arsenals has led to the erosion of non-proliferation pacts and declining confidence that the U.S. can protect its allies from nuclear attacks, especially Israel, allied Arab states, and Japan.
Bracken’s book was pretty good, and lays out the obvious advantages of a nuclear arsenal, beyond fighting nuclear war. It allows you to be far more obnoxious than you otherwise could be, and constrains your opponents from taking drastic steps against you.
That’s particularly true if you’re seen as a non-rational state, such as, say, Iran.