Here is the Foreign Affairs article in which Kenneth Waltz, one of the most prominent scholars of realism, argues about why he thinks Iran should get the nuclear bomb. From the article:
“Most U.S., European, and Israeli commentators and policymakers warn that a nuclear-armed Iran would be the worst possible outcome of the current standoff. In fact, it would probably be the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East.”
The question is related to what Schelling said about the taboo surrounding nuclear weapons. Recall what he said about Iran (in 2005):
“If Iran should, despite every diplomatic effort or economic pressure to prevent it, acquire a few nuclear weapons, we may discover again what it is like to be the deterred one, not the one doing the deterring. (I consider us – NATO at the time – as having been deterred from intervening in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.) I also consider it crucial that Iran’ leaders, civilian and military, learn to think, if they have not already learned to think, in terms of deterrence.”
Should Iran get the bomb? Should the world or the US care? Is a limited nuclear strike ever possible? These are big questions to think about.