PUTIN AND IRAN….If we attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, will Vladimir Putin get sufficiently annoyed with us that he starts turning over nuclear technology to the mullahs in an effort to speed up their quest for an atomic bomb? Judah Grunstein offers a corrective:

Guys, nobody just gives away nuclear weapons. Desperately isolated states (ie. North Korea) sell them, as do desperately greedy individuals (ie. AQ Khan). A unilateral strike against Iran will certainly make it more difficult to use diplomacy to stave off an eventual Iranian second push for nuclear capacity, thereby locking us into a cycle of military intervention. But no one’s going to just hand over the atomic goody bag to Tehran just to get back at us.

Agreed. Russia learned its lesson on that score 50 years ago. Handing over nukes to a next-door neighbor isn’t really a likely scenario.

What is likely, however, is a lot simpler. Human nature being what it is, nation states all too often react to insecurity by resorting to crude balance-of-power principles — sometimes openly and deliberately, Congress of Vienna style, other times more organically and subtly. The more threatening and unilateral the United States continues to seem, the more likely it is that foreign states will decide that a few guys in caves aren’t nearly as big a deal as a country with a $500 billion military budget and an itchy trigger finger. We would be wise to elect a president next year who’s figured that out.

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