One aspect of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s March 3 speech ignored by the press and pundits was his suggestion that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons destabilizes the entire Middle East. Not only would Israel be threatened, but all the pressure points currently feeling the presence of Iranian surrogate terrorists would now fall under the shadow of Iran’s bombs and missiles. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States would find themselves blackmailed the way China and the Soviet Union bullied their neighbors in the twentieth century.
Their obvious solution, in the face of ineffective Western curbs, would be to obtain nuclear weapons themselves. The issue then becomes not one but several unstable, irate nuclear powers rattling their nuclear sabers at each other and Israel.
Lest we think it impossible that Middle East states could obtain (notice: I didn’t say develop) nuclear weapons, remember that rogues states like Pakistan, North Korea and Russia already have nukes. (In the latter case, lots of them.) For the right price even Iran would probably sell weapons to Saudi Arabia (through deniable intermediates, of course), no matter how insane the superficial politics. The world would then be treated to several rounds of threats, shifting alliances and brinksmanship until it all blew up.
This is how World War I started. An unstable corner of the world becomes the chessboard for major power ambitions until some idiot commits what the other side can label an unforgivable sin. Once the side choosing and shooting starts, no one cares why.
America in 2015, as in 1914, thinks we’re safe behind our oceanic moats. We’re not.