we need to internalize the insight that even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad voiced this week, when he said that all the talk about an Iranian bomb is irrational and meaningless. This is not simply because any Iranian attempt to destroy Israel via a nuclear bomb would kill countless Palestinians, but because it would surely lead to the destruction of Iran itself by Israel and the United States. Therefore, the idiotic claim that Iran could bring about Israel’s destruction does not hold water.
Nuclear weapons are almost entirely political weapons, built on perceptions and anxieties. This is even clearer today than earlier in the nuclear age. It is now agreed that except in dire emergencies, it is inconceivable that any country would use a nuclear weapon.
It is a great pity that through our own conduct, and especially the irresponsibly alarmist voices emerging from among us, we have inflated a political problem into an existential threat. And it is an equally great pity that we have granted legitimacy to nuclear bombs being viewed as weapons, instead of helping to delegitimize this useless weapon.
The writer, author of the book “Israel and the Bomb,” is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.