The first nuclear age began 69 years ago this week, with mushroom clouds over Japan. The dawn of the next, equally dangerous nuclear age can be seen through the haze of this summer’s violent conflagrations and political dust-ups. Washington, though peripheral to the conflicts, remains at ground zero of the revived nuclear dilemma.
The little-noted underside of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza is the pressure it adds toward a broader proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. That concern has been necessarily centered on Iran. Despite the Gaza war, Qatar’s Hamas-promoting mischief, the ongoing collapse of Syria, and new chaos in Libya, negotiations with Tehran about its nuclear program are still set to resume next month — a process Secretary of State John Kerry calls “a path forward,” but which an embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu derided last week as a “joke.” There is nothing funny, though, about the prospect of failed talks with Iran, and the unleashed nuclear arms race that would surely follow in that contentious region.