RIYADH—The nuclear deal that the U.S. and other world powers hope to reach with Iran would put a 10-year curb on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program. For some of Iran’s regional rivals, that is also becoming a deadline for developing nuclear arms of their own.
In Saudi Arabia, there are widespread public calls to match Iran’s nuclear quest. The two other Middle East heavyweights, Turkey and Egypt, could also feel compelled to follow suit, senior Western and Arab officials warn.
Such an arms race would further destabilize what is already the world’s most volatile region, where the risks of a nuclear war would be compounded by the threat of radioactive material falling into the hands of terrorist groups.
I’m sure the Obama administration is shocked, absolutely shocked to hear what everyone has been saying for years.
Mutually Assured Destruction as a strategy during what was effectively a bipolar world during the Cold War had the disadvantage of being morally reprehensible. But it had the ultimate advantage of working. Neither the West nor the Soviet Union wished to be reduced to radioactive ashes.
And one advantage of the vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons in place at that time was that absolute assurance that one could not survive, let alone win, any nuclear exchange. Mind you, that’s a gross oversimplification of nuclear strategy, but still the essential gist.
The problem with proliferation is that the increased numbers of players in any “game” increases the odds that any one will make a miscalculation and either assume it has sufficient advantage to win, or such a massive disadvantage that is will lose, and has nothing to lose by using weapons. And that premise is based on the assumption that all the players are reasonably rational!
There’s a reason previous administrations have all sought to marginalize and deny Iran access to a weapon program.