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Return to the Arc of Crisis

NEW DELHI – Thirty-three years ago, then-US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski spoke of an “arc of crisis” coursing through the Middle East and into Central Asia. Today, events in Syria and Pakistan, as well as the recent bombings in Bangkok and New Delhi, which some are linking to Iran, suggest that Brzezinski’s arc is more salient than ever.

Among the many dangers lurking along it today, the most ominous concerns the response of Israel and the United States to the question of when Iran’s nuclear facilities will become impregnable, creating, in Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s phrase, a “zone of immunity.” Some think that this point has already been reached, with Iran placing its enriched uranium underground, near the holy city of Qom, beneath many layers of granite – and thus beyond the destructive power of anything short of a nuclear bomb.