Is a Nuclear Iran a Good Thing?

Iran is going nuclear? Don’t worry, be happy. That, at least, is the message of this odd op-ed in the New York Times written by one Adam B. Lowther, identified as an analyst at the Air Force Research Institute at Maxwell Air Base in Alabama. He claims that a nuclear Iran will deliver all sorts of hidden benefits for the U.S.:

First, Iran’s development of nuclear weapons would give the United States an opportunity to finally defeat violent Sunni-Arab terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. Here’s why: a nuclear Iran is primarily a threat to its neighbors, not the United States. Thus Washington could offer regional security — primarily, a Middle East nuclear umbrella — in exchange for economic, political and social reforms in the autocratic Arab regimes responsible for breeding the discontent that led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He takes this fantasy to another level by imagining that not only will the Arab states be empowered to defeat al-Qaeda — something they already have an interest in doing — but that OPEC will also crack up, the Israelis and Palestinians will settle their differences because they’ll both be so scared of Iranian nukes, U.S. defense exports to the Middle East will increase, the Arab states will bear more of the cost of their own defense, and Iran will become a more responsible actor with nuclear weapons than without them.

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Is a Nuclear Iran a Good Thing?

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