Pervez Hoodbhoy in The Express Tribune:
In my opinion, Iran’s quest for the bomb does it — and the world — no service. The world needs less nukes, not more. Yet, given the regime’s obstinate insistence, there appear to be only two possible outcomes. Continuing on its present path, Iran will likely become the world’s 10th nuclear state over the next few years. Bad as this would be, it would not be terrible. In all likelihood Iran would then moderate its dangerous rhetoric and, like other existing global nuclear rivalries, this one too could be managed.
On the other hand, an Israeli attack — whether aided or not by the US — would be truly terrible. The Middle East would become a permanent war zone. The third Gulf War would surely devastate Iran. But today it is in a position to inflict much greater damage on the US than were Iraq or Libya. The US would plunge into an economic crisis the likes of which it has not seen before. The last bits of its post-withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan would be shredded to pieces.