No one worries about British or French or American nukes. Nor should anyone worry about Israeli nukes — as long as Israel doesn’t face annihilation, they will never be used.
That’s because countries like the U.S. and Israel have democratic systems with checks and safeguards against capricious use of the ultimate weapons. The problem with Iran is that it has no such safeguards. If it were to acquire nukes, its weapons would be in the hands of millenarian religious fanatics who jail or kill anyone who criticizes them. - Max Boot
If the administration wants to prevent proliferation and/or an arms race in the region, there is only one place on which it needs to focus its attention: Iran.
But since the administration refuses to turn up the heat on the regime, it has gotten nowhere in confronting the actual nuclear threat in the Middle East. So, instead, it is inventing a new threat and dealing with that one. In this case, we’re back to the laughable idea that the United States can extract good behavior from bad regimes by setting an inspiring example of self-abnegation, especially one in which we refuse to show any “favoritism” to our allies. - Noah Pollak
Once upon time, Washington's Iranian ally was an "island of stability," fully deserving of American nuclear know-how and material. The reason the Shah even signed the NPT in the first place was so that he could develop and expand his country's nuclear energy program. Fast forward 40 years, and that one little signature is essentially the spine of the international community's charge of nuclear malfeasance against Iran and its current regime. Without it, Tehran's behavior would legally be no different than India and Japan's, and in fact less "rogue" than Israel's. Without that little signature, we wouldn't even be having a debate over "targeted" multilateral sanctions vs. "crippling" sanctions. There'd be no hand-wringing over Chinese waivers and watered-down measures, because the case for punishing Iran's nuclear behavior would have zero international basis.
All of this is important, because it demonstrates how unbiased and fair global policy can serve a more static, long-term purpose. Alliances change and turn, which is why the case for democratic nuclear entitlement put forth here by Boot and Pollak makes little sense to me. I agree with Pollak that it's not entirely fair to target Israel and Israel alone for its nuclear program, but let's be fair - if Obama were to advocate a more consistent policy of "self-abnegation" and include, for example, India, then the choruses of Indo-American decline would only become louder and more profound.
And Boot seems to confuse democratic transparency for nuclear security. India is indeed a developing and promising democracy, but it's also a divisive and sectarian one; fraught with internal, regional conflicts. Can Boot really call India an island of stability just because it's a democracy in 2009? Is India immune from regime upheaval? Is any nation - much less one accounting for roughly one-sixth of the world's population - immune from such change?
Can he say unequivocally that Israel's undeclared and unmonitored nuclear weapons program will never produce the next A.Q. Khan?