Sam Roggeveen says David Axe is wrong:

As Axe points out in this longer and more balanced version of his story, there is actually a huge military imbalance in the Middle East, and Iran is at the wrong end of it. Huge deals such as the F-16 sale to the UAE (that's the Block 60 version, which even the USAF doesn't have) just make things worse. They not only worry Iran, but other regional actors as well, and they give Russia another excuse to sell more arms to Tehran.
The 'Iran threat' motivation only makes sense in regard to Iran's ballistic missiles, and in isolation, American sales of missile defence systems to Middle Eastern clients are actually a stabilising move, in that such defences negate Iran's ballistic missile capability without posing a threat to anyone else. In and of themselves, missile defences are a purely negative capability that can deny an adversary an aggressive strategic aim, but cannot help to secure one.

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