Fareed Zakaria writes in his latest column that he favours “containment and deterrence” over military strikes or full diplomatic engagement. He comes to this conclusion by eliminating the military option as too dangerous and the diplomatic option as folly. Containment through sanctions remains the only choice. But, Zakaria points out, should containment fail, a nuclear Iran would not pose much of a problem either. We’ve dealt with nuclear madmen and regimes before–Stalin and Mao.

I find this line of thinking–first, arguing that containment will work best, and then, slyly admitting that not much is at stake even if deterrence doesn’t work because a nuclear Iran would behave like any other power–evasive. Under all the scenarios Zakaria presents, from the military to the diplomatic to the sanctions track, Iran’s acquiring of the bomb is deemed inevitable. So why evade that inevitability and why not start thinking of policy in a world where Iran has the bomb?