Nuke Fad in the Gulf: In light of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, there is little the US can do to halt or roll-back nuclear proliferation elsewhere across the Middle East, said regional analyst Stephen Grand with the Brookings Institute. “I think the horse is out of the barn and I think that would be very difficult” to stop states such as Saudi Arabia from considering development of their own deterrents, said Grand speaking at AFA’s Air & Space Convention on Tuesday. “At a moment like this, the Gulf countries and other Sunni countries find it very difficult to not be starting to think about gaining nuclear capabilities, or other capabilities to counter Iran,” he emphasized. “That process has already started. … Israel has a nuclear capability, Pakistan has one,[and] it’s very hard for their neighbors to not consider their own,” said Grand. “These become issues of national pride.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.