One thing the Grumpy Old Man does not seem to understand is how much the US policy in the Middle East is dictated by the fear that the Israelis will use their nukes. As the Chieftain of Seir points out, America never gave much in the way of military aid to Israel until they had the bomb. Then we started shipping over just about everything they wanted.This is an intriguing notion, although one I don't know the record supports. Give them enough tanks and F-16s and they won't be crazed enough to drop the Big One.
For a while this policy worked pretty well at keeping Israel’s finger away from the little red button. As long as Israel was confident that their conventional arms were enough to guarantee their safety, the US did not have to worry about Israel setting the whole Middle East alight. If Iran gets the bomb, that will all change….
--The Ape Man
I do believe the Egyptians came to the peace table because they knew that Israel could destroy the Aswan High Dam, after which the Nile would wash away the inhabited part of Egypt.
My simian friend also suggests, and I don't disagree, that a nuclear exchange in the Middle East would be a matter of grave concern to us. Presumably that's because a taboo against the use of nukes has persisted for 62 years (since Nagasaki), and once it is broken, detonation of these devices might become commonplace.
That's a substantial risk, but I'm not sure it warrants a preemptive strike against Iran, especially when serious diplomacy seems not to have been tried, and I know that such a strike poses substantial risks, not to speak of moral (just war) questions.
As I commented on his blog, although one can do everything with bayonets except sit on them, the only thing one can do with nuclear weapons is sit on them.