This map running in The Economist provoked a head smacking “ah-hah” moment for me. I’ve been thinking about the fact that both the ideological right and the left in Iran think obtaining a nuclear weapon is a good idea.
I’m used to seeing Iran on the eastern fringe of a Middle East map or the western edge of a Pakistan/Afghanistan map. This map shows it smack in the middle, surrounded by lots of scary neighbors.
Let’s think: if I were a country with an American invasion on two flanks; the Pakistani unstable, nuclear-armed government beside me; within fighting distance of Russia; would I want a nuke?
And those are just the global players on the immediate borders. There are more civil wars and breakaway regions within spitting distance than you can shake a stick at. Not that nukes are any good for dealing with insurgencies. Still, it becomes easier to understand how Iran could have a case of (possibly justified) paranoia.