Craig S. Karpel wrote on Politics Central
Iranian nuclear strategy: Heads we win, tails you lose.... The U.S. has about 10,000 nuclear warheads. Tehran cannot hope to deter retaliation by attaining numerical parity. In the grim game of nuclear strategy, will trumps numbers. The Iranians can leverage possession of a relatively small arsenal of weapons into geopolitical power by providing clearly discernible evidence that they are prepared to use them even though doing so means being themselves atomized. The mullahs read the West as being unwilling to sacrifice anything to secure its power, and as being dependent on others feeling the same way.The prospect of an Iran that can wield nuclear strategic power without having to launch a single missile, though not as spectacular as the Ahmadinejad - as - All - Four - Horsemen - of - the - Apocalypse scenario, is daunting. The distance from Iran to Saudi Arabia, between which lies Shi’a-populated, oil-endowed southern Iraq, is less than 200 miles. Saudi Arabia’s oilfields are in its Eastern Province, much of whose populace are Shi’ites, who are suppressed by, and hostile to, the House of Saud. The goal of Tehran’s nuclear weapons program is to enable Iran to attain hegemony over the entire littoral of the very aptly named Persian Gulf and, by exercising control of virtually all of the Mideast’s oil reserves, become a global power. Or die trying.That means we will not use nuke's first, but if Iran does use them, it will glow in the dark.Iran’s unstated purpose in turning Lebanon into an unstate is to display to the world’s nuclear strategists Shi’ite-and, by extension, Iranian-willingness to commit national suicide.... Iranian willingness to accept nuclear retaliation against itself as a form of martyrdom -or, if that willingness is not actually present, other countries’ belief that it is-will allow Tehran to use the implicit threat of a suicidal first strike to get its way:We are prepared to nuke you first even though you are certain to respond by nuking us. You, in contrast, are not prepared to nuke us first because we are certain to respond by nuking you.But we can do a lot if damage to you with conventional weapons.Therefore we need only to possess the ability to nuke you in order to induce you to bend to our will.
I prefer the latter.