by Patrick Appel


I'd like to join Fallows and disassociate myself from Elliott Abrams claim that Obama may eventually bomb Iran in order to win reelection. Boiling down questions of this magnitude to crass political calculation is no way to have a debate. But since Abrams raised the point, over on the Israel-Iran debate page Karim Sadjadpour rebuts Abrams, writing that any honest analysis from the White House "would conclude that a military attack on Iran, and the myriad long-term repercussions of such an attack (which I will address later), could well sabotage Obama's chance at re-election." Greg Scoblete finds another weak link in Abrams's argument

Wars have frequently been waged for balance-of-power concerns, but in this case [if Iran acquired a nuclear bomb], how significant would the balance of power shift out of America's favor? Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is not the top country on the subcontinent - it can barely curtail its own home grown insurgency and it was threatened/cajoled by the U.S. to allow us to bomb portions of the country almost at will. North Korea has nuclear weapons and you'd be laughed out of a room if you suggested they had anything resembling "hegemony" in Asia.

Iran with a crude nuclear weapon would still be poor, weak and surrounded by unfriendly states.

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