Turning the ME into a weapons-free zone? Is this possible?

Earlier today, NYTimes hosted an online Q and A with Richard W. Murphy, former US Ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State for Reagan and now a senior fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations. Somebody asked him the following question:

To which Mr. Murphy responded:

I find it incredulous to hear that given the choice between dealing with an issue assumed to be “too hot” and a nuclear holocaust, that we would doing nothing but piss in our collective pants and wait to be vaporized. Has the US ever explored this option at one time? Why can’t we control such a scenario from occuring (aren’t we the Most Powerful Nation in the World)? What is Israel’s problem with proposing nuke-free Middle East (wouldn’t it bring more security)? Will we the people have to force our government to deal with those “too hot” issues that it otherwise doesn’t have the cajones to?

Here’s the
link to the transcript of the discussion if you are interested.

Israel will always keep such weapons as weapons of last resort. They may not want to use them, but they are in the middle of a lot of very hostile nations.

Israel would be most concerned about other nations cheating. And to be honest, neither the US nor all the Arab States + Egypt and Iran together have enough carrots to outweigh the nuclear option for Israel.

Well, in the case of the Arab States + Egypt and Iran, there aren’t enough carrots that they’d be willing (or could be trusted to) provide. This is another case of a solution that is simple, easy to understand, and utterly useless.

And I thought this was going to be about Maine.

Even assuming that no other countries in the middle east would ever build nuclear weapons, Israel would still feel it need them as a deterrent. A new Arab-Israeli war is always a possibility, and Israel might be defeated on the ground. In this case it still could tell “stop right now, or we’re going to use our nukes”

Besides, Israel has no interest in giving up its weapons, since there’s essentially nothing it can obtain in exchange. If someday several arab countries own nukes too, maybe entering in a bargain and accepting a nuclear-free zone in the middle east could become a sensible option for Israel, but currently, I can’t see why they would accept such a concept.

Nope; wouldn’t work. Israel would never trust them not to cheat. And in any case, I don’t think the Arabs states would have any reason to go along with the plan.

Nor would (or should) they trust Israel not to cheat. Israel is already “cheating” with its undeclared WMD.

I find it humorous that American policymakers would find Iran’s nuclear arsenal (whether they have it now or in a few years) as a potential catalyst for war.

If history has taught us anything (not that Americans know anything of history), it is that nuclear weapons reduce the chances of war between two bitter enemies (i.e. Japan, Russia, China etc.).

Before anyone starts with American patriotic diarrhoea of the mouth, I will declare that I hold an American passport and have lived in the US for over a decade so I have every right to criticize and interpret the US and its people.